PhP85-M allotted for Casa Real restoration

August 29, 2015 5:14 am 

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Aug. 28 — Casa Real, the once grand but now ruined royal house which served as the seat of the provincial government of Pangasinan during the Spanish era, is set to be restored to its old grandeur and beauty.

Second District Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil said a total of PhP85 million has already been allocated which means that the project is already all set.

Bataoil said in a forum last Aug. 27 that the national government, through the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) under the Department of Tourism (DOT), has approved a PhP50-million budget for the Casa Real restoration.

This is in addition to the PhP30-million initial budget from the General Appropriations Act 2015 and PhP5-million from the provincial government through Governor Amado Espino Jr.

Bataoil noted that estimates of engineers and architects for the total cost of the restoration is at least PhP50 million.

"So we're only requesting for around PhP15 million as the project cost estimate is PhP50 million. I was just very happy they approved PhP50 million additional fund instead," said Bataoil.

At present, the program of work for the project is being prepared, and later for bidding.

Meanwhile, the 58 families who have built homes at the back of the Casa Real structure have already agreed to vacate to a relocation site provided by the provincial government, the congressman said.

However, further dialogue with the Casa Real informal settlers are ongoing.

Bataoil said, "Each family has requested 100 hollow blocks and a toilet bowl, which I assured them."

The provincial government provides each family with a 42-square-meter lot in Barangay Aplaya, Lingayen as relocation site.

Casa Real, located beside the Lingayen Municipal Hall and Provincial Jail, is a Spanish-era building that served as the Provincial Capitol until a new Capitol building, located at its present location in the Lingayen beachfront, was completed in 1918.

Constructed in the 1840s, the two-story building became the station of the Spanish soldiers and their native recruits who helped fought the Katipuneros during the revolution against the Spanish rule.

Upon the organization of Pangasinan as a civil province in 1901 by the Taft Commission, Judge William Howard Taft and his commissioners went to Lingayen and were given a grand reception in Casa Real.

Casa Real was then declared as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute on March 13, 2002, for its historical significance as well as architectural importance as an "outstanding and unique example of civic architecture from the Spanish and American colonial periods."

As stated in the report of Provincial Tourism Officer Maria Luisa Amor-Elduayan, the Casa Real, especially its roofs, was destroyed by super typhoon "Cosme" in 2008 and was abandoned by the offices of the municipal government occupying it.

Once the restoration is completed, the Espino administration envisions the building to be utilized as a provincial museum to house old books, documents, artifacts, archaeological relics and other materials of historical and cultural value.

Initial initial recommendation for the Casa Real restoration project was made by the Pangasinan Historical and Cultural Commission. (PNA)

SCS/LVM/JOHANNE MARGARETTE R. MACOB/RMA

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