Planned conversion of Malacañang sa Sugbo into museum gets more support

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz August 14,2019 - 10:47 AM

CEBU CITY—The planned conversion of the Malacañang sa Sugbo into a national museum has gained support from both private individuals and local government officials.

The Diwa sa Buhing Hulagway (Dibuhu) art group, through its head artist Wilfredo Caberte Jr., sent an email to Evangelina Arroyo-Bernas, chairperson of the National Museum Board of Trustees, to signify support for the proposal.

“The Dibuhu (Diwa Sa Buhing Hulagway) art group here in Cebu would like to express our interest to endorse (transforming) Malacañang sa Sugbo into a national museum,” Caberte said.

Noting that the building has been rarely used, he noted that using the building to restore and preserve Cebu’s heritage would inspire artists and young Cebuanos to contribute and leave a legacy to the country.

“We would like to appeal to your kind office to consider and give a chance to this inspiring plan,” Caberte added.

Another individual by the name of Randy Salazar also sent a message to the Office of the Presidential Assistant offering his assistance. 

“I heard of the plans for converting Malacañang sa Sugbo into a national museum,” Salazar wrote. “Do let me know how I could be of help if you put up traditional blade exhibits in the museum.”

He explained that he was one of the administrator of Filipino Traditional blades, adding that he “would be happy to share our blade collection with the National Museum” to help preserve the knowledge of traditional blades of the country.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and the Cebu City Council also expressed support for the plan.

“I am very supportive of the idea of our very own nationally-supported museum located right here in Cebu,” Garcia wrote in a letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The lady governor noted that if the plan would be realized, Malacañang sa Sugbo would uplift the tourism industry in Cebu.

She added that the structure represents the rich history and culture, not only of Cebu but also that of the entire country.

The Cebu City Council had passed a resolution supporting the plan to convert the century-old building into a regional branch of the National Museum.

Sponsored by Councilor Renato Osmeña Jr., the resolution noted that having a national museum in Cebu would foster scholarly studies and public appreciation of works of art as well as historical artefacts. 

Glenn Castillo, acting deputy general manager of the Cebu Port Authority, also signified their support for the proposal in a letter to the President.

“The Cebu Port Authority welcomes this development as we support whatever your directive is on how the building will be used.

To recall, Secretary Michael Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, revealed that he received a letter from National Museum Chairperson Evangelina Lourdes Arroyo-Bernas expressing interest in re-establishing their presence in Cebu City through the restoration and conversion of the Malacañang sa Sugbo into a museum.

In her letter, Bernas said that Malacañang sa Sugbo would complete the Central Visayas regional museums of the National Museum. 

There is now an existing National Museum branch in Tagbilaran City, Bohol and a forthcoming branch museum in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, which is scheduled to be opened in 2021. /bmjo

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