August 2,2013 12:40 AM
By: Maricyn A. De los Santos
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) will spearhead the P50-million restoration project of the Santa Barbara church and convent in Santa Barbara, Iloilo in preparation for the 2015 Philippine Independence Day celebration.
In his visit Wednesday, NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy updated Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. and Santa Barbara Mayor Dennis Superficial that the project is a priority since President Benigno Aquino III will celebrate the country’s independence next year in the historic Iloilo town.
He said the NHCP already allocated P20 million for the project in its 2013 budget and an additional P10 million in its 2014 budget.
Badoy noted that Senate President Franklin Drilon committed P10 million for the project while the province and Second District Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta will contribute P5 million each.
The restoration was first conceptualized when NHCP chairperson Ma. Serena Diokno visited the town of Sta. Barbara in 2011, when the province celebrated the transfer of the remains of General Martin Delgado in the town’s plaza.
Diokno, after inspecting the historic church and convent, approved the idea of restoring the structures and immediately allocated the P20 million as its initial fund. To complete the P50 million estimated fund needed to complete the restoration, the province sought the help of Drilon, who was very receptive to the idea of restoring the heritage site.
The NHCP declared the Santa Barbara Church and Convent as a National Landmark. It was the site where Delgado of the Visayan Revolutionary Government convened the junta that raised the first Cry of Revolution against Spain outside of Luzon.
The church was built in 1845 and is of Baroque Renaissance architecture. Its facade is neoclassic, proven by twinned neoclassic pilasters and finials.
The convent is reminiscent of Moorish architecture. The interior of the church is neoclassic in style and has three altars.
Meanwhile, Iloilo provincial government is also gearing for the restoration of the century-old Iloilo Provincial Jail in preparation for its conversion into a museum.
The Capitol already published its invitation to bid for the project’s consultancy services and the Bids and Awards Committee will accept eligibility documents from interested bidders until August 13 only.
The Capitol said it will source the P841,500 payment for the comprehensive structural investigation, retrofitting, architectural and engineering designs and construction supervision from the P15-million project budget included in Supplemental Budget No. 3.
The governor said the conversion of the old provincial jail into a museum would boost the tourism of the city and province of Iloilo.
“Let us restore the old provincial jail. We will make it as tourist attraction and possible regional museum,” Defensor. (With Jezza A. Nepomoceno)