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Manila Central Post Office Fire Puts National IDs Into Question

Manila Central Post Office fire
James Francisco

Scorching flames broke out at Manila Central Post Office near midnight of May 21, 2023, questioning the status of multitudes of unreleased letters, parcels, and the awaited physical National Identification (ID) Cards. The Liwasang Bonifacio landmark was set ablaze for nearly ten hours, seeing the rise of alarms an hour after another, requiring over 80 fire trucks at the scene. Flames reportedly emerged from the building’s basement, seeping towards the fifth level, leaving charred remnants of the site—yet the Important Cultural Property remains intact.

Conceived through the Duterte-administration, copies of the Philippine National ID for Manila recipients are said to be housed within the site, according to Postmaster General Luis Campos.

“Kasama siya but it's only for Manila letter carriers. We'll have to assess that and hopefully ma-reprint ‘yun and we will have to redeliver that,” he tells DZBB.

Without an official circulation disclosed as of publishing, Chief of Staff of the Postmaster General, Mark Laurente, inversely mentioned that the identification cards were saved from the heat's damages, being stored in another city.

With the status and eventual distribution of the National ID still in question, damages within the near centennial-old structure include collections of stamps and several priceless artifacts, with the landmark posing a pillar of Philippine history. No fatalities were reported in the incident as of publishing.

Erected in 1926, the Juan Arellano and Tomas Mapua-structure underwent restorations in 1946 after World War II, as the May 21, 2023 incident is the first to strike significant damages to the historical site.

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