Friday, February 10, 2012

Save the Misamis Occidental Capitol in Oroquieta City!

It's Architect Juan Arellano's week unfortunately! Another significant work of Juan Arellano could disappear if we do not put a stop to this nonsense. Architect Dom Galicia received a report early this week that the side wings of the prewar Misamis Occidental Capitol Building in Oroquieta City are being demolished.

The Provincial Government of Misamis Occidental is violating Republic Act No. 10066 - National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009. Seeing an old photo of the capitol, Architect Toti Villalon notes, "What a beautiful Palladian structure the original was."

Here we go again! This time the local government is the proponent of the demolition! We appeal to Gov. Herminia Ramiro to stop this massacre of great architecture. We call on the people of Misamis Occidental to help us send the message across.

Thank you Gov. Herminia Ramiro!
Here is the recent update from Archt. Dom Galicia: To balance out the terrible news coming from the City of Manila, here is a long-delayed report on the March 28, 2012, meeting at the NCCA with the governor of Misamis Occidental regarding the fate of the Juan Arellano-designed capitolio.

Attendees were: NCCA Executive Director Emelita Almosara; Gov. Herminia Ramiro of Misamis Occidental; Arch. Raj Busmente, NCCA; Arch. Nelson Aquino, National Museum; Arch. Wilkie de Lumen, NHCP; Arch. EM Cuerpo and two members of his architectural team from the design-build firm of EM Cuerpo; Atty. Trixie Cruz Angeles, NCCA Legal Counsel; Ms. Kat Anuta, NCCA; Arch. Dominic Galicia, NCCA-NCMS.

After a lively yet cordial deliberation, direction was established regarding how best to respect and sustain the exemplary cultural and historical value of the capitolio, which served as the capital of a Free Philippines in the early days of World War 2. Gov. Ramiro instructed the EM Cuerpo design-build team to follow the NCCA recommendation to restore the Juan Arellano capitolio (including restoring the Great Hall, now subdivided into two floors and attic) and to house the expansion in a new separate structure to be built in the back. The new structure will act as a quiet background building, perhaps employing the lightness and transparency of green architecture. The Juan Arellano capitolio could one day house the provincial museum, of which there is none so far. The Great Hall could one day be used as the Session Hall. EM Cuerpo will submit three schemes for Gov. Ramiro's approval, with NCCA consultation.

EM Cuerpo raised concerns about the legal and Commission-on-Audit ramifications of the change in the design and the terms of reference. NCCA Legal Counsel Trixie Cruz Angeles allayed those concerns by explaining the power of the Heritage Law. NCCA would be preparing a letter to Gov. Ramiro which will serve as a document of rationale.

It was a remarkable demonstration of political will, once Gov. Ramiro made the decision to restore the capitolio and build a separate annex in the back. Generations will remember this decision of Gov. Ramiro. Not just Misamis Occidental, not just Mindanao, but the nation as a whole will be grateful.
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