P9-M allocated for restoration of Dumaguete’s bell tower

Posted by watchmen
May 30, 2024
Posted in News

The National Museum of the Philippines has allocated some P9 million for the restoration and site improvement of the iconic bell tower in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

The National Museum will undertake the project in collaboration with the Diocese of Dumaguete and the city government, Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, chair of the Committee on Church Cultural Heritage, said yesterday.

“We are happy with this development considering that the bell tower needs to be preserved and protected from further deterioration as it is a symbol of the people’s faith and resilience for more than a century since it was built,” Heruela said.

He said the bell tower or belfry, built in the 1800s, was declared an Important Cultural Property by the National Museum before the pandemic.

During a stakeholders’ meeting on Tuesday, May 28, the National Museum team presented the project’s rationale and proposal while listening to input from church and city government representatives, local architects and engineers.

Lawyer Ma. Cecilie Tirol, Director II of the Visayas National Museum, said the initial funding of P5 million now has more than P4 million for the bell tower.

Tirol said the project will only cover the reinforcement, retro-fitting and other architectural works.

Other tasks are excluded, such as the removal of the existing water tank and comfort rooms and transferring the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto to another site, she said.

These are activities that the city government and the church will have to undertake as part of the proposed project design for the belfry, she added.

These structures will affect the structural integrity of the bell tower and, eventually, they need to be removed or relocated, she said.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, Tirol said “this is a long-time coming project with a memorandum of agreement, executed as early as January 2020 but the pandemic came and so it was put on hold.”

Last year, the National Museum got the funding that led to the execution of the project.

Tirol and her team visited the belfry yesterday for further assessment to fine-tune the plans and address the concerns raised by the stakeholders for a smooth and transparent project implementation.

Tirol hoped that the project design and scope of work, among other things, would be finalized so that the restoration would begin this year. (PNA)

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