Restoration of MacArthur HQ in Dagupan stopped

DAGUPAN CITY — City mayor Marc Brian Lim has halted the ongoing restoration of the historical MacArthur building situated at the West Central I Elementary School here.

“For the time being, we issued a stop order through the engineering office, and I am trying to know the scope of the project. But to be very clear and transparent, this is a DepEd (Department of Education) project and not the city’s,” Lim said in an interview Tuesday.

The mayor issued the statement in response to the uproar on the restoration work being done on the two-story wooden historical structure, which served as the official headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur after he landed at the Lingayen Gulf before the end of World War II on January 9, 1945.

Dagupan City had become the official headquarters of MacArthur during his stay here.

Lim expressed support to the restoration project but he wants “more information” about it.

“If it is conservation and restoration and the plan is good, then why not continue? But for the time being, let us get more information because I don’t want to issue a statement blaming anybody without complete query. What we ask from the DepEd, if there is such a project, they should have informed the city government,” he said.

Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher de Venecia had asked the Dagupan City Schools Division to provide him a report on such ‘restoration’ job.

De Venecia said he will ask the DepEd to update him on the restoration works it is doing on heritage houses and Gabaldon buildings all over the country.

De Venecia added that he is ready to call for a congressional investigation relative to the project if necessary.

He would also determine if DepEd is coordinating with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) or with the National Museum, in connection with the restoration works, and if these are being done in consonance with the law.

Under Republic Act 11194, otherwise known as the Gabaldon School Buildings Conservation Act which was co-authored by de Venecia, all heritage buildings built between 1907 and 1946 are allocated funds for reparation and restoration.  Liwayway Yparraguirre / PNA –