The National Museum of the Philippines will lead the transformation of the Malacañang sa Sugbo building in Cebu City into a museum.
The proposal to set up a national museum in Cebu coincides with preparations for the Philippines’ quincentennial commemoration of Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in the Philippines and marking the achievement of circumnavigating the world. The 2021 celebration also marks the introduction of Christianity in the Philippines and the 500th anniversary of Lapu-Lapu’s victory in Mactan.
In a letter sent to the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, National Museum Chairperson Evangelina Lourdes Arroyo-Bernas expressed the National Museum’s interest in restoring the Malacañang sa Sugbo and converting it 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,” Bernas said in her letter.
The National Museum assured it will fund the restoration, conversion, and the operation once the Malacañang sa Sugbo is transferred to their jurisdiction.
In response to the National Museum’s request, Dino asked and received approval for the project from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
“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,” Secretary Dino said in his letter to the executive secretary.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has already agreed with the proposal of converting the idle Malacañang sa Sugbo 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,” Labella told media.
To catch up with he upcoming quincentennial commemoration, the city mayor said he will request the National Museum to hasten the restoration and conversion of the Malacañang sa Sugbo as the city expects millions of visitors. The city can now be visited via Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
Built in 1910, the Malacañang sa Sugbo was formerly known as Aduana and served as the office of Bureau of Customs in the Cebu City Port.
Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo converted the building to Malacañang sa Sugbo in 2004 but it has not been used after her term ended in 2010.
The structure was also reported to have incurred serious damages after a strong earthquake hit the islands of Bohol and Cebu in 2013.
“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 also enrich the Cebuano culture, and stand to be a showcase to the whole world,” Secretary Dino said.
Malacañang sa Sugbo would complete the set of National Museum’s branches in Central Visayas. National Museum has now a branch in Tagbilaran City, Bohol and a branch that is soon to open in 2021 in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
SEND well wishes to the people of Cebu, soon to be gifted with its own national museum!
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