State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) announced today that it is ready to assist in the restoration of the Philippine Postal Office (Philpost) building in Intramuros which caught fire last Sunday. GSIS is the first government agency to reach out to the beleaguered public corporation.
“The damaged Philpost building and its contents are insured with the GSIS for P604 million. To facilitate the insurance claims, we immediately dispatched our adjusters to the fire scene today even though no fire-out has been declared yet. We also deployed drones to completely evaluate the affected structures. We are very much aware of the historical significance of the building and we would like to assist in its rebuilding efforts in every possible way,” GSIS President and General Manager Wick Veloso said.
The pension fund chief added that GSIS will offer its warehouse in Pasig to serve as Philpost’s temporary workplace. “Philpost needs a transitory workplace to allow it to seamlessly maintain its vital services while its restoration is going on,” Veloso said.
“We are also willing to extend a loan to Philpost for the reconstruction of the building. The building has been declared an Important Cultural Property by the National Museum of the Philippines and its loss will have a huge impact on our rich cultural heritage. We need to bring it back to its original splendor,” Veloso said.
As of this hour, fire is still ongoing in the Philpost building but in a controlled situation as it continues to emit smoke. Philpost will inform GSIS immediately once a clearance is issued by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to enable GSIS to schedule a full-blown site inspection to determine the extent of damage sustained by the insured properties.
According to Philpost, it would be impossible to gain entry inside the building as of this writing because it is still unsafe, tightly secured and cordoned by the responding BFP team.
The Philpost building was designed by Juan Arellano and Tomas Mapua in the neoclassical style and was completed in 1926. It was the main mail-sorting and distribution hub in the Philippines and was the central office for the Philippine Postal Corporation. The building was also a popular tourist destination, known for its grand architecture and its collection of stamps.