Cebu News

Transfer of CH to SRP pushed

Mary Ruth R. Malinao - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Barring any hitches, Cebu City will soon have its seat of power at the South Road Properties.

Mayor Michael Rama is planning to turn the current City Hall structure into a bigger and modern Cebu City Museum as he wanted the executive and legislative offices transferred to the SRP.

City Public Information Officer Cerwin Eviota said that such is still a concept being developed by the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO).

The mayor disclosed this plan during the opening ceremony of the “Museum and Galleries Month” on Monday, October 10, which was held at the city museum.

“The test of prominence of a city is when and how he handles art, culture, and history… Of course, it goes without saying that we must not forget the importance of education,” said Rama as reported by the city’s Public Information Office (PIO).

No timeline, however, was being set as to when the project will start, although Rama wanted it done within three years as part of his vision for the city to achieve a Singapore-like status.

The mayor also said that the city government will build a public library bigger than the one currently located at the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum Building along Osmeña Boulevard, where the city museum is also situated.

In 2015, during his second term as the city mayor and before being defeated by former mayor Tomas Osmeña in the 2016 elections, Rama had said that he is eyeing at relocating the City Hall to the SRP and possibly converting the current building into a museum.

“I want to have a complex for government offices and functions at the SRP in the future,” he said.

Since the city has no “modern” museums, Rama said the current City Hall building will be an ideal venue because of its proximity to historical landmarks like the Magellan’s Cross, Plaza Independencia, Fort San Pedro, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, and Cathedral Museum of Cebu, among others.

With an area of 300 hectares, the SRP is the biggest asset of the city government. Of the total area, 90 hectares are already sold to SM Prime Holdings Inc., Bigfoot Entertainment, and Filinvest Land Incorporated, while five hectares were donated to the University of the Philippines.

Bryner Diaz, head of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Office (CHAO), was glad to hear the good news from Rama.

“It’s a welcome development. We are happy to know that the mayor has these plans for the museum and the library. As for the museum, its current location is enough for a single gallery,” said Diaz.

Diaz said that with the mayor’s pronouncement, they can now plan for a bigger museum and multiple galleries to house the city’s collection of natural history specimen, anthropology, artifacts, works of art, and others, worthy of a city museum.

Meanwhile, the observance of the “Museum and Galleries Month” is held annually by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 798 of 1991.

“It underscores the importance of arousing national consciousness and pride in our rich Filipino culture and heritage…(that) embodies the aspiration of the nation. The observance recognizes that these cultural and art forms are necessary for nation-building and shaping national destiny,” said Diaz.

The theme for this year is “Embracing Uncertainty: Showcasing Solidarity, Hope, and Recovery.”

According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), this would highlight the binding role of museums and galleries as cultural identifiers in a rapidly-changing world.

“As we slowly enter the post-pandemic era, we are wandering into an unknown world. Nevertheless, we still stand as one — looking towards the future with a recovered and renewed vision,” the NCCA stated. — with  a report from Caecent No-ot Magsumbol, LPM (FREEMAN)

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