Rotunda renovation on hold

Posted on July 28, 2011

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The rehabilitation of the historic Fuente Osmeña rotunda in Cebu City has been put on hold amid the city and provincial governments’ dispute about who owns the landmark.

A private donor offered P10 million to fund the project but “it was put aside because of disagreements on… who should implement the rehabilitation,” said architect Melva Java.

“The plaza should be left as it is, open to the public,” if the rehabilitation pushes through, Java said.

“The fountain should be the star of the show.”
The architect and Cebu Daily News columnist said she is against a plan to tile the area around the fountain.

“We just have to take care of the grass, secure the area, provide shade to park goers and manage traffic in the area to provide safety to the park goers.”

The Fuente Osmeña circle is among the landmarks that Cebu City’s Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC) will document in a guidebook on the city’s historic sites.

CHAC plans to launch the book and a history of the city in two years.

The guidebook will help ensure that “discussions on the heritage sites will be uniform and accurate,” said Glenda Gabuya, CHAC executive director in a press briefing.

Former councilor Arsenio Pacaña, a CHAC commissioner, said tour guides sometimes give false information about the landmarks in their assumption that tourists don’t know anything about them.

CHAC is doing an inventory of historical landmarks in the barangays.

“This should serve as a springboard for development. If we lose them, we will also lose our local memory,” said Java.

Historic structures should be marked for conservation, Java said.

“Identification of the landmarks will help educate the young people of our history,” Pacaña said.

So far, 27 of the city’s 80 barangays responded to the project, which started in January, Gabuya said.

Barangay San Roque, for example, has the city’s oldest well in sitio Panting.

To preserve old houses and other structures in the city, CHAC and the city planning and development office are proposing a local version of Republic Act 10066 or the Philippine National Cultural Heritage Law passed last year.

The law prohibits the destruction of structures 50 years old and above.

The planning office has identified historical districts in the city and want guidelines like limited stories for new buildings around the districts to keep these visible.

RA 10066 still has no Implementing Rules and Regulations.

The law prohibits owners from demolishing structures aged 50 years and more without approval from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
 
“But for me, only the structures that are significant should be kept and not all structures aged 50 years old and above,” Java said. /By Doris C. Bongcac, CHIEF OF REPORTERS