Top officials of the National Museum of the Philippines joined Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo and other local dignitaries today in the formal public declaration of the Dumaguete Presidencia as an “Important Cultural Property” as defined by the Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act, the National Museum Act of 1998 and the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

The National Museum’s Panel of Experts determined that the Dumaguete Presidencia is considered among the best of the American colonial type of edifices designed by Juan M. Arellano, one of the country’s leading architects. The panel who signed the resolution is composed of Reverend Father Milan Ted D. Torralba, Architect Manuel Noche, Professor Regalado Trota Jose and Reverend Father Pio S. Javellana.

The Dumaguete Presidencia is the first declared Important Cultural Property in Negros Oriental as confirmed by National Museum Director Jeremy R. Barns.

Also present during the public declaration are Vice-Mayor Franklin Esmeña Jr., Councilors Karissa Tolentino-Maxino, Miguel Agustin Perdices, Lilani Ramon, Estanislao Alviola, Jose Victor Imbo, Joe Kenneth Arbas, Michael Bandal, Manuel Arbon, Manuel Sagarbarria, Liga ng mga Barangay President Dione Amores and SK Federation President Lei Marie Danielle Tolentino along with officers of the Heritage Council led by Dr. Earl Jude Cleope.

The declaration of the Dumaguete Presidencia or City hall (built at the onset of American Occupation in 1937) as an ICP entitles it to be granted government funding for its restoration, protection and conservation by the National Museum.

Mayor Remollo, an avid students of history, hails the declaration of the Dumaguete Presidencia, as this will enhance the city’s reputation as a heritage destination. He expects that the Dumaguete Presidencia will become another tourist destination for heritage lovers and provide the next generation a better appreciation of the city’s rich culture and heritage.

Dumaguete Presidencia is currently undergoing restoration works with a budget of P 49 million and will be converted into a regional branch of the National Museum of the Philippines as repository of artifacts, still pictures, audio-video tapes and documents depicting the social, cultural, political, religious, military and educational life of the eastern Visayas.

The current project involves the restoration of what was originally built on the same site, guided by Arellano’s own plans, dated 1936, that are still preserved at the Department of Public Works and Highways in Manila.

The National Museum (NM) is one of the lead government cultural agencies which is tasked to achieve the goals of instilling cultural consciousness and a sense of pride and nationalism among Filipino citizens through its activities covering the sciences, education and culture.

To ensure the preservation and protection of cultural properties in the Philippines, the NM is mandated to declare significant cultural properties as National Cultural Treasure or Important Cultural Property.