An online petition was launched this week to oppose the construction of a 31-storey condominium building behind the iconic and only all-steel church in the Philippines.
The high-rise building project has been opposed since the plans were first announced, but it was given a green light by authorities last year.
Those who oppose the project have been continuing in their efforts to save the San Sebastian Church, a national historical landmark.
“Our goal for this petition is to raise 400,000 signatures by this August 2021,” said the petitioner, San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc.
The number of signatures aims to symbolize the 400th anniversary of the very first San Sebastian Church.
“The signatures from this general petition will be recorded to show the public there is a community of people who care about the basilica and the neighborhood,” it said.
The present structure, which dates back to 1891, is the only all-steel church in Asia and the only prefabricated steel church in the world.
The petitioner asked the public to help in raising awareness about the San Sebastian Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of San Sebastian, and why it must be protected.
“We strongly believe in the power of a united community, and so beyond this petition, we invite everyone to connect with us and collaborate,” it added.
As of January 12, or five days since the campaign was launched, the petition already has about 7,200 signatories.