PALO, Leyte, (PNA) — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) asked residents to demolish roadside structures in this town , including a public library, the town’s landmark, to give way to a road widening project.

The road widening project is close to Palo Cathedral, which is expected to start within this month, giving only few days for house owners to clear the road right of way.

The Pedrosa family, the owner of the library opposed the widening project to preserve the town’s cultural legacy.

The DPWH accused the family of seizing a right of way converting a part of public highway to private use violating Sec. 23 of Presidential Decree No. 17.

The family denied the allegation of using public property and justified that the library and their neighbors’ homes were built on private land enclosed with legitimate titles.

Judge Marino Buban, legal counsel of Pedrosa family said they are trying to maintain the legacy of the place under Republic Act 10066 seeking to protect, save, and preserve important cultural property.

“This is to be protected because this is part of the history of our place,” said Buban.

He added that the law prohibits the structure of buildings more than 50 years old and the library is more than 100 years old and had seen many stages of the nation’s history.

Atty. Ramon Pedrosa also shared that the library is a patrimony of the nation and a landmark of the province of Leyte.

The old lawyer agreed that the duty of the government is to provide services such as construction and widening of roads, but he stresses the more paramount duty of the administration to preserve culture of this nation.

“This library was the first education for many people and Palo is part of the patrimony of this country,” he added.

The issue was brought up to the National Historical Commission (NHC) and its officials wrote a letter to DPWH Regional Director Rolando Asis to coordinate with her office on this concern.(PNA)