Mayor Edgardo Labella, said he agrees with the proposal to convert the unused Malacañang sa Sugbo building into a national museum.
“I agree. I concur en toto, meaning 100 percent. There is a need for us to have a national museum because Cebu City is rich in culture, heritage, and history,” he told the local media in a press conference.
Earlier, National Museum Chairperson Evangelina Lourdes Arroyo-Bernas sent a letter to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, stating the National Museum’s interest in re-establishing its presence in Cebu by restoring and converting the said structure into a museum.
The mayor said it is only fitting for the Queen City of the South to have a national museum as Cebu City is a historical and heritage city.
“Remember that the first Spanish settlement was established in Cebu City. In fact, the first or the oldest street in the country – Colon St. – is in Cebu City. The first Filipino was also baptized in Cebu City in the person of Queen Juana, the wife of Rajah Humabon,” Labella said.
He added that the first school in the Philippines was also established in Cebu City – the University of San Carlos, which was then named San Ildefonso College.
“These are among the very important factors or reasons why I concur en toto in making that structure (Malacañang sa Sugbo) a national museum,” the mayor said.
The Malacañang sa Sugbo, formerly called the Aduana Building, was originally built in 1910 to house the Bureau of Customs in the Port of Cebu.
In 2004, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) converted the structure into Malacañang sa Sugbo but it has been idle since the end of her term in 2010. The building was reportedly severely damaged by the October 2013 Bohol earthquake which was strongly felt in Cebu.
The mayor said he will request the National Museum to hasten the restoration and conversion of the building so that it will be completed in time for the fifth centennial celebration of Magellan’s arrival to the Philippines in March 2021.
“This is very timely and I hope that this can catch up with the fifth centennial commemoration, where we can expect millions of visitors,” Labella said.
“Even the (building) design itself bespeaks of the kind of heritage and history that we have in Cebu City. So, I concur en toto,” he added. (PNA)
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