Tuesday, July 14, 2015

DPWH set construction of first ‘cultural center’ in Northern Luzon

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter
June 26, 2015

BATAC CITY—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) broke ground for the first cultural center in Northern Luzon on July 2, in time for the 86th birthday celebration of former first lady and now Ilocos Norte 2nd district Rep. Imelda R. Marcos.

In her speech during the groundbreaking, Mrs. Marcos said the cultural center project is very important as she said “Culture is nature and nature is the law of God.”

“We are doing not something physical, not something material, not something intelligent but we are doing something spiritual. Because we are bringing out the soul of the Ilocanos to show to the world how beautiful, purely and great we have”, Mrs. Marcos added.

She also disclosed that she is very excited and happy as the groundbreaking coincided with her 86th birthday celebration.

The bigger Batac Cultural Center has long been envisioned by Mrs. Marcos to showcase the artistry and creativity of local talents here, as well as a venue for cultural exchanges both for national and international levels.

Imee: Art and work is the real economy
Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos congratulated Batac for hosting the cultural center aside from having one of the best universities in the country.

“The city that after all has become the driver and engine of growth and therefore it is important that employment, cultural insights and all opportunities be found in all blown genuine city”, the governor said.

She said that this “dream project” and coincides with the “Pasingkedan Iti Kinatan-ok ni Ilocano” project of the provincial government.

“The said project highlights, enlightens, enhances, widens, deepens and broaden the rich cultures that we have and the pride of Ilocos Norte of its rich and comprehensive heritage and the unique tradition and customs,” Ms. Marcos added.

She stressed said that in many places, they say art and culture are only for the rich and famous but in Ilocos Norte, “Ang sining ay hanapbuhay at tunay na ekonomiya at kaunlaran”.

For this reason “Heritage is not a mere hobby or rich man’s pleasure better yet arts, culture and heritage are livelihood. They are employment, development and drivers of growth”, the governor added.

Batac mayor thanks Imelda
Batac Mayor Jeffrey Jubal Nalupta expressed his “deepest thanks” to the former First Lady for this “very rare arts and culture [project worth] hundreds of million pesos.

Mr. Nalupta remembered when this project was conceived when the governor became the guest speaker of the Cebu Cultural Center inauguration in Cebu City and which was attended by Ilocos Norte provincial officials and mayors.

During the said affair, the mayor had the chance to approach the congresswoman and he jokingly said that he also wanted the same cultural center in Batac but better and more beautiful compared to the Cebu Cultural Center, to which the congresswoman replied “Okay, we will do that”.

After this, the mayor said he did not expect that his joke would become real when a staff of the congresswoman called him to ask where he plans to put up the Batac Cultural Center.

Mr. Nalupta said that this project should have been started earlier as there was already a groundbreaking held last year but due to the PDAF issues, the project was put on hold.

The 1,022-seater cultural center to be named after Mrs. Marcos will rise in Batac City where great talents for arts and cultural performances are found.  The two-storey building, with a mezzanine, is likened to the Cultural Center of the Philippines built under the Marcos administration, except for its roof design which would resemble a ‘salakot’, a traditional Ilokano hat to conform to the local arts and design.

With a total funding of P300 million, district engineer Mathias Malenab of the DPWH Ilocos Norte 2nd Engineering district said the DPWH Central Office through Secretary Rogelio Singson approved an initial amount of P94.5 million for the first phase of the project.

Participated in by at least three bidders, the winning bidder, AJ Taylan Construction, is set to implement the first phase of the project which will immediately commence after post evaluation at the site.

According to Mr. Malenab, the initial fund of over P90 million will be used for casting and diving of piles to build up the building’s foundation.

DPWH regional director Melanio Briosos also presented an overview of the project, which would have a floor area of 4,911 square meters. The first floor has a 2,746 square meters area while the upper ground floor has an area of 165 square meters.

The project will be erected with a total land area of 11,655 square meters or more than a hectare area with a total cost of P327,260,000.00.

DPWH 2nd engineering district chief Engr. Mathias Malenab said that finally, the BCC has come to be realized after the formal groundbreaking was conducted.

The completion of the project will depend on the release of the fund wherein a bigger release would mean a faster and easier completion of the project.

The funding comes from the national government thru the initiative of Mrs. Marcos under her Local Infrastructure Project (LIP) Fund.

The inauguration was also attended by Ms. Fortuna Marcos-Barba, Atty. Irene Marcos, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba, members of the provincial board, mayors, and Batac officials.

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