Principle 1:  The heritage zone shall conform to accepted conservation policies

The policies for the management of the heritage zone shall be developed in accordance with identified relevant local and international policies related to heritage conservation.

1.1 Regulatory Framework

The San Pablo Heritage Zone shall be governed by the following frameworks:
San Pablo City Council Ordinance No. 2018-53 creating the City of San Pablo Heritage Zone and Historical Sites;

National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 (RA 10066) which advocates, among others, various conservation approaches, the adherence to international standards of conservation, and the principle that specific areas or places may have their own definition of significance and conservation value;

Guidelines, Policies, and Standards for the Conservation and Development of Historic Centers / Heritage Zones by the National Museum of the Philippines (NM) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NCHP);

UNESCO General Assembly Recommendations. The Philippines is a member of the UNESCO General Assembly, and as thus, it is bound to follow the 2011 Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscapes. This details duties regarding the adoption of policies that identify and protect “the historic layering and balance of cultural and natural values in urban environments,” and the “harmonious integration of contemporary interventions into the historic urban fabric;” 

Accepted International Standards of Conservation. The policies outlined below also consider various documents prepared or accepted by ICOMOS as standards for heritage conservation, namely, the 2013 Burra Charter especially with regard to the fundamental concepts, definitions, and process of conservation; the 2008 Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites; the 2008 Charter on Cultural Routes; as well as the 1999 Cultural Tourism Charter for Managing Tourism at Places of Heritage Significance, among others.

Likewise, the San Pablo Heritage Zone is indirectly affected by the following:

Presidential Decree 1096 or the National Building Code, which provided the minimum standards and requirements for the design and construction of buildings in the Philippines. This includes regulations concerning location, site, materials, use, occupancy, and maintenance.

The Revised National Plumbing Code, the Fire Code (R.A. 9541), the Philippine Electrical Code, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (R.A. 9003), the Accessibility Law (B.P. 344),

1.2 Review of Policies

The policies contained herein should be reviewed regularly in order to address the efficacy of these policies as well as any issues and problems that may arise during its implementation.

Reviews should be carried out every ten years or less. Likewise, review of the policies may be done when pertinent new information about the heritage zone comes to light. The reviewing body shall take into consideration whether or not the significance of the heritage zone is still kept intact.

1.3 Professional Conservation Advice

Review of the policies, as well as development and supervision of proposals and plans will benefit from relevant and experienced conservation advice.

Any contractual work that may affect significant elements and/or fabric within the heritage zone should be carried out by agencies, firms, or persons with proven expertise and experience in conservation-related projects. This includes, but is not limiteds to professional consultants, contractors, and tradespeople.

The appointment of urban planners, architects, locals, and consultants who can be part of an initial board whose function would be to screen designs for new buildings may be undertaken.

1.4 Coordination

All proposed developments within the San Pablo Heritage Zone should be framed within a larger, coordinated, and documented plan.

The area that comprises the heritage zone is an urbanized area—it is a mix of religious, government, residential, and commercial uses. It also contains the city’s main park fronting the church. The park is delineated with the American-period lampposts that also set the limits of the heritage zone. Thus, an orderly and methodical approach to conservation and development is promoted. Proposed actions should consider the impacts not only on its significant heritage values, as well as the improvement of quality of life within it.

The Heritage Zone should be consulted in the development of:

  • Urban plans
  • Comprehensive Land Use Plan
  • Other proposed building or urban developments

1.5 San Pablo Historic Zone (SPHZ) Design Review Committee

Term and Appointment

  • Members of the SPHZ Design Review Committee shall be appointed by the Municipal Mayor;
  • The term of appointments will ideally be two (2) years, with options for re-appointment for two (2) consecutive years;
  • The maximum term is six (6) years, after which, the member needs to take a break, but may be reappointed again after;
  • Committee members shall retain their position until their replacement is officially appointed


          The SPHC Design Review Committee will be composed of five (5) members. The proposed composition of the SPHZ Design Review Committee may be as follows:

  • One (1) representative from the City Planning or Building Official’s Office
  • One (1) representative from the City Tourism Office
  • One (1) representative from the local United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Chapter
  • One (1) representative from the San Pablo Business Association
  • One (1) representative from the San Pablo Church Parish Pastoral Council

It is recommended that the members of the Committee assign amongst themselves:

  • A Chairman;
  • A Vice-Chairman; and
  • A Secretary


          The main job of the SPHZ Design Review Committee is to review and approve any physical changes to the Heritage Zone. This includes, but is not limited to: identified heritage buildings, identified urban components such as parks and sidewalks, empty lots, new constructions, and presumed important buildings (more than 50 years of age). For the proposed evaluation workflow, please see Annex (?).


Specifically, the Committee members shall:

  • Assess submitted documents for proposed changes in existing buildings;
  • Assess and determine reclassification of identified heritage buildings;
  • Approve or disapprove the proposed developments on the basis of inappropriate use or inappropriate design;
  • Call for public meetings, should the need arise;
  • Send notices to appropriate parties regarding violations within the Heritage Zone;
  • Recommend revisions or suggest changes to the proposal;
  • Once approved, the Committee shall provide appropriate permits so that the work may proceed

For each proposal, each of the five members shall cast their vote whether the projects is:

  • Approved
  • Denied

They may discuss the results and can decide to ask the property owner / architect to submit or make further revisions.


The members of the SPHZ Design Review Committee will receive a small honorarium for their services. The schedule and amount shall be decided upon by the local government.

1.6 Incentives

Technical Assistance
In order to help stakeholders with property located within the core and buffer zone, the SPHZ will make the following accessible:

  • General Orientation for stakeholders (recorded video)
  • Design Menu (accessible online)
  • List of Accredited local Architects (who have undergone special training and certification to design buildings in the Heritage Zone)
  • Facilitate application / request to National Agencies for Technical Assistance
  • Workshops / seminars

Tax Break
Property owners who conform to the Principles and Guidelines set by the SPHZ shall receive whatever benefits that are legally agreed upon by the local government.

One such benefit / incentive could be the granting of a 5-year tax break to conforming properties. The tax break shall be in effect for 5 years from the completion of the project. Proposed incentives should be legally adopted and amended to the policies.

1.7 Adoption of Principles and Policies 

The City of San Pablo recognizes the Historic Zone as the heart of the city. It is likewise acknowledged that the Heritage Zone plays a vital role in the continuing development and growth of the city.

The City Government of San Pablo acknowledges its duty to instill in its citizens and awareness of the importance of the Heritage Zone, not only in the context of the city and the province, but also within the nation. The conservation of the Heritage Zone is a tangible example of the enduring history of the San Pablenos that should be passed on to the next generation.