GenSan to build own museum

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 July) – In a bid to preserve the city’s rich multicultural history, the city government is pushing for the development within this year of its own museum.

Vice Mayor Shirlyn Nograles said Tuesday the city council has passed a resolution endorsing the establishment of the city museum and designating the city’s historic old government building to host the facility.

She said such move was provided for under City Ordinance No. 01, which was unanimously passed by the council during its recent 28th regular session.

The ordinance was sponsored by City Councilors Ronnel Rivera, Dominador Lagare III, Margareth Rose Santos and Virginia Llido.

The ordinance cited that the proposed city museum will mainly serve as “a venue to showcase the history, culture and myths and evolution of the southern frontier people, both first inhabitants or indigenous individuals, and migrant settlers, including their artifacts, tools, and infrastructures.”

It said the museum will serve as a repository of the vanishing antiquated treasures consisting of heirlooms and arts/crafts of the early dominant indigenous peoples in the city and its ruling Moro sultanates.

Among the sultanates that had set base in the city were the Maguindanao, Buayan and Koronadal sultanates.

The museum will showcase through pictures and replica or images the heritage sites of General Santos City, like important landmarks as well as natural and created sites or structures, the ordinance said. It will display old materials, equipment and other proofs of the evolution of the city’s thriving tuna industry, memorabilia of the city’s founder Gen. Paulino T. Santos Sr., its pioneering settlers and other prominent personalities from the city.

The museum will also serve as venue for exhibits of art works and creations of local artists and “a place for cultural observation.”

“(It aims) to respond to the expectation that highly developed cities shall have a sensitive character reflective of its high level of culture,” the ordinance pointed out.

The old city hall building, which is located at the back of the present modern city hall complex, was constructed in October 1949 and used to be the main seat of government of the then Buayan municipality of the undivided Cotabato empire.

The then Buayan municipality was renamed General Santos town six years later and an upsurge in the local economy eventually led to its establishment as a chartered city in July 1968 based on Republic Act 5412.

Six of the country’s eight tuna canneries are currently based in the city, which is considered the Philippines’ tuna capital.

The tuna industry generates an average US$180 million in export earnings annually and supports an estimated 100,000 jobs in the area. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)