Iloilo heritage sites up for restoration

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ILOILO CITY: Several historical and heritage sites in this city and province of Iloilo are up for restoration with funds included in the 2016 national budget.

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Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, in his keynote message at the opening of the ICOM Asia Pacific Conference and General Assembly here, said there has been intense campaign to bring back the province’s historical and heritage sites, parks and plazas, to their old glory.

With the topic on museums and sustainable development, Drilon zeroed in on balancing the pursuit of economic success with concern for Iloilo’s cultural heritage.

He said fund amounting to P123 million for restoration projects were included in the 2016 national budget.

The century-old churches and heritage structures in Iloilo, as well as to convert the old Iloilo Provincial Jail into a Visayas Regional Museum are among them.

An initial budget of P80 million for the rehabilitation, retrofitting and establishment of permanent exhibitions and public facilities have been allocated.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines has conducted restoration projects in the province including the Sta. Barbara Church Convent and the churches of St. Anne in Molo and St. Augustine in Dumangas.

The Old Bureau of Customs House, called “Aduana”, and the Kerr Building, are two of the heritage buildings that will be restored as well.

For 2015, the national government allocated P40 million for the restoration of the COA heritage building in Iloilo City to be converted into a museum.

Also, the restoration of the heritage buildings on the City’s main thoroughfare, Calle Real, now JM Basa St, now in full swing, is being undertaken by the private sector, Drilon disclosed.

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