Works on GenSan museum start next month

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 February) — The city government is targeting to start next month the development works for the city’s P22 million Cultural and Heritage Museum.

Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, chair of the city museum project’s technical working group, said Friday the preparatory works are underway for the repair and retrofitting of the old city hall building, which will host the museum.

She said the local government has contracted engineering firm KGD Builders for the job, which will cost around P7 million.

Another P15 million had been allotted by the city government for the further development of the museum, which includes the construction of a glass-enclosed atrium at the building’s main entrance, she said.

Nograles said the square glass structure, which was based on a design developed by architect Michael Ang, will serve as the exhibit area.

She said the remaining P1.5 million was set aside for the city’s cultural mapping project, which was launched to complement the establishment of the museum.

City officials led by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera held on the Thursday the formal ground breaking and laying of the time capsule containing the museum project’s plans at its site located at the back of the main city hall building.

The event was joined by officials of the Department of Tourism in Region 12, Department of Education city division, city tourism council and the University of Sto. Tomas Graduate School’s Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment, which was tapped by the city government to assist the cultural mapping.

The cultural mapping project was described as “a heritage conservation approach where cultural heritage resources are identified and documented in a specific locality for purposes of meaningful development.”

“The project will document, through participatory approach, the significant heritages of the city, not just as a cold reference of future generations, but to adapt them in contemporary contexts towards the creation of a meaningful and enriching inspiration to the everyday life of every resident,” a project briefer said.

Nograles said she personally pushed for the realization of the project in a bid to preserve the city’s rich multicultural history, culture and heritage.

“The preservation of heritage and culture is essential in the development of the city,” the vice mayor said.

The city government designated the “historic” old city government building, which was built on Oct. 26, 1949, as host of the city museum through City Ordinance No. 01, series of 2011.

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.

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 old city hall building 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. (MindaNews)