Labella: Cebu to have “world-class” museum
CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the city will soon have a “world-class” museum as he supports the transformation of the century-old Malacañang sa Sugbo building into a national museum.
The mayor said he would ask to hasten the transformation of the idled building in time for the quincentennial commemorations in 2021 of Magellan’s arrival in the Philippines.
“We really need a National Museum. That’s long-overdue. That structure, for me, is considered as a heritage structure that has been built several years ago and rather than just allow that structure or building to rot without using it for a very good and special purpose,” he told reporters.
As this developed, newly-proclaimed Councilor Joel Garganera planned to establish a heritage area along M.C. Briones Street– from Malacañang sa Sugbo to City Hall.
“The entire stretch from Malacañang sa Sugbo going to City Hall. We’re thinking of putting up night market. It’s a two-in-one. While there’s night market, we will also showcase the church, the Magellan’s Cross and the museum sa Malacañang sa Sugbo,” Garganera said.
The transformation of the century-old building was announced by the Office of the President.
In a statement, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino said that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez III already gave authority to the National Museum to convert Malacañang sa Sugbo into a new tourist attraction in Cebu and in the Visayas.
Labella is hopeful that millions of visitors from all over the world would visit the city in 2021 for the 500 years celebration of Christianity. He said the development of having a National Museum in the city would be an avenue to showcase the city’s rich culture and heritage.
“I think there would be artifacts and there would be materials that will be displayed there that would show that Cebu City is a historical city, heritage city, and religious city. Even the design itself, bespeaks of the kind of heritage and history that we have in Cebu City,” the mayor added.
National Museum Chairperson Evangelina Lourdes Arroyo-Bernas has already communicated to Dino, expressing interest to reestablish its presence in the city through restoring and converting of the Malacañang sa Sugbo into a museum.
“I personally consider the ongoing absence of the NM (national museum) in the international gateway and educational, cultural and tourism hub of the central Philippines to be incomprehensible and have made rectifying this glaring deficiency one of my top priorities as Chairperson,” said Bernas in a letter to Dino dated June 20, 2019.
Bernas assured that her office will be responsible to fund the maintenance, repair, restoration, conversion, and operation of the building.
Dino, for his part, sent a letter to Medialdea on July 8 asking for the consideration and approval of Bernas’ request.
“It must be noted that there exists no National Museum in Cebu, which is at odds with Cebu being the queen city of the south, and the main hub for education, business, and economy outside of Metro Manila,” Dino said in his letter.
Dino also sent a separate letter to Secretary Dominguez to formalize his request about the transformation of the century-old building, which used to house the Bureau of Customs in Cebu.
“I believe that restoring the Malacañang sa Sugbo to its former glory and making it a national museum would not only protect our cultural heritage but would enrich the Cebuano culture, and stand to be a showcase to the whole world,” Dino said.
Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo converted the building into Malacañang sa Sugbo, where she held office and official functions while in Cebu, in gratitude for the overwhelming support of the Cebuanos to her during the 2004 elections. (FREEMAN)