DAGUPAN CITY — A youth leader has vowed to initiate the rehabilitation and restoration of the old Home Economics building of the West Central School in this city which served as the first command post of General Douglas MacArthur on Luzon soil after he and his troops landed in Bonuan Blue Beach on Jan. 9, 1945 to begin the final liberation of Luzon from the enemy.

Christopher de Venecia, the 29-year old son of former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and Pangasinan Fourth District Congresswoman Gina de Venecia said he will talk to both the Department of Education and the Dagupan City government which he will convince to work with him for the restoration of the home economics building that was part of Dagupan’s history.

The restoration of the edifice, he said, has become more pressing especially after the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) branch, some 20 meters away, built a history wall where some of rare photographs of Mac Arthur’s landing in the beaches of Pangasinan are on display.

Noting that the first floor of the home economics building is now being occupied by a canteen and library, the younger De Venecia who just substituted her mother as candidate for congressman in the fourth district of Pangasinan,said he will first dialogue with City Schools Superintendent Froserfina Bravo and Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez to see what all they can do to the canteen and the library.

“I recognize the needs of the pupils in that school and the need for areas to build their facilities,” he added.

De Venecia vowed to tap various government agencies like the National Historical Commission and even private establishments to ask them to include the restoration of the home economics buildings as part of their corporate social responsibility.

“We must plan well because of the need to put proper zoning to this important historical site in Dagupan, said De Venecia, once a famous child actor in television and movies who went also to theater directing, and a graduate in Political Science at Ateneo de Manila, University.

He said has several friends and friends of his family, like Senators Cynthia Villar and Loren Legarda who can help so that the project can be put to reality.

Noting Dagupan’s important role during the liberation, De Venecia said there is a need to restore the project to remind this the future generations.

He said there is also a need to recover the artifacts associated to the old home economics building as when he visited the place, he saw only the bath tub where MacArthur took a bath while he was in Dagupan, minus the bed, bed sheets, utensils and even slippers reportedly used by him. PNA /