‘…given that February marks the Liberation of Manila (Intramuros as well as Extramuros) from Japanese imperialism in World War II, we propose the installation of a relevant historical marker in the edifice.’
AHA, Doctor Hugo! Naririnig ang cha-cha, sa kastilyo rin ay may rumba” – Pu3ska. Unlike Cold Station 12 (Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4 Episode 5), the venerable Rizal Hall of the University of the Philippines Manila is not meant to be a hothouse of pathogens. Thus, safety, quality of life and air quality are paramount. Consider the ASHRAE Handbook on Heating, Ventilating, and Air-conditioning Systems And Equipment and more (https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools):
(1) Inspired by “Passivhaus” principles, maintain consistent and comfortable indoor temperatures throughout the year with high-performance windows and extra insulation in your design. Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air provides superb indoor air quality. [https://www.eesi.org/articles/view/the-history-of-passive-house-a-glob] Also, acoustics are fundamental to learning: ANSI-ASA 12.60.
(2) The principles governing the circulation of pure and fresh air ought to apply “every moment of our lives” and ensuring “positive means provided for the removal of all the poisoned air thrown from the lungs, so that none could possibly be re-breathed.” Intoned in 1869 (three decades before Year 1 of the Philippine-American War) by Lewis W. Leeds (Special Agent of the Quartermaster-General, for the Ventilation of Government Hospitals during the War; and Consulting Engineer of Ventilation and Heating for the US Treasury Department): “There is no use of disputing about it, you must have a current of fresh air coming into the house or you will surely die.” [Lectures on Ventilation: Being a Course Delivered in the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia. NY: John Wiley & Son, Publishers]
(3) Prepare the classrooms and offices to receive maximum daylight without the glare: https://www.wbdg.org/resources/daylighting. Procure environmentally healthier cleaning products, filters, markers, paints, etc. to reduce (if not eliminate) all irritants and allergens: Healthy Green Purchasing for Asthma Prevention Guidebook.
(4) Provide operable windows and encourage building users to open windows when outdoor air quality is acceptable. Implement adequate air filtration and document a maintenance protocol for installed filters. Implement ultraviolet air treatment. Implement design strategies to limit moisture accumulation and the potential of mold growth from water infiltration and condensation within buildings. [WELL Building Standard v2 pilot (WELL v2)] LinkedIn, Goldman Sachs and Genentech have buildings certified via the International WELL Building Institute.
We remain hyper-aware of the infrastructure of cleanliness, thus, shall not allow corrupt, clumsy and moronic bureaucrats to kill students, professors and staffers with their laziness, negligence or malice. A safe and healthy home is a human right; since Rizal Hall is our home we persuade that incorporating health concerns in our building’s design is a necessity, not a luxury. At the same time, we are mindful of aesthetics and historicity of our Neoclassical Rizal Hall, a form “associated with the highest order of civic, or public, architecture” implying “grandeur, seriousness and power.” [https://www.mayfairgallery.com/blog/neoclassical-style-guide-art-architecture-18th-century]
Additionally, given that February marks the Liberation of Manila (Intramuros as well as Extramuros) from Japanese imperialism in World War II, we propose the installation of a relevant historical marker in the edifice. So, once and for all, here is the full story of our historic building 76 years ago: “The 5th Cavalry, leaving elements behind to complete the mop-up at the hospital, turned its attention to Rizal Hall, the largest building on the university campus. Centrally located and constructed of reinforced concrete, Rizal Hall faced south on the north side of Padre Faura Street. The Japanese had strongly fortified the building, cutting slits for machine guns through the portion of the foundations lying just above ground, barricading doors and windows, emplacing machine guns on the flat roof, and setting up the ubiquitous sandbagged machine gun nests inside.” [Robert Ross Smith]
“After a two-hour tank and tank destroyer bombardment, a Troop B platoon entered from the east about 1130 on 20 February. During the shelling most of the Japanese had taken refuge in the basement, but reoccupied defenses on the three upper floors before the cavalry could gain control of the stairways. Nevertheless, the platoon cleared the first floor and secured a foothold on the second after two hours of fighting. The small force then stalled, but the squadron commander declined to send reinforcements into the building. First, the interior was so compartmented that only two or three men could actually be engaged at any one point; more would only get in each other’s way. Second, he feared that the Japanese might blow the building at any moment.” [Chapter XV: “The Drive Toward Intramuros”]
“Accordingly, the Troop B platoon resumed its lonely fight and, without losing a single man, reached the top floor about 1700. Half an hour later the squadron commander’s fear of demolitions proved well founded, for Japanese hidden in the basement set off a terrific explosion that tore out the entire center of Rizal Hall, killing 1 cavalryman and wounding 4 others. The platoon withdrew for the night.” [Triumph in the Philippines]
“A similar experience had been the lot of Troop G in the Administration Building at the southwest corner of the university campus. The troop had cleared about half its building by 1700, when explosions on the Japanese-held third floor forced it out. Action at Rizal Hall, the Administration Building, and other structures in the university-hospital area cost the 5th Cavalry another 9 men killed and 47 wounded on the 20th.” [The United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific series. Washington, D.C.: Office Of The Chief Of Military History Department Of The Army, 1993]
“The regiment took the Administration Building against little opposition on 21 February, but did not secure Rizal Hall, which it left in a shambles, until the 24th. The Japanese garrison at Rizal Hall alone had numbered at least 250 men, the last 75 of whom committed suicide during the night of 23-24 February.” [pp. 288-289]
We hope that the UP Manila C-Suite will do the right thing posthaste as we are heartened by the comment of Dr. Arlene A. Samaniego, UP Manila Vice-Chancellor for Administration: “As the original birthplace and cradle of UP, the Padre Faura campus is home to heritage buildings and artifacts that date back to the early 1900s and were witnesses to its early struggles and formative years.” [https://www.up.edu.ph/time-space-and-up-manila/]
On the 76th anniversary of the Battle of Manila, start the liberation of Rizal Hall from the killer Covid19 (first reported in Chinese Wuhan, rampaging throughout the Chinese Year of the Metal Rat, unimpeded by the feebleness of the DOH-WHO response).