The local government here is seeking the historical recognition of Sungduan dam, built by American soldiers as water source during World War II.
The recognition by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) would pave the way for the preservation of the dam badly damaged by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013, said Mary Sarah Gabornes, the town’s tourism officer.
“We have been pushing for the promotion and preservation of this dam because this will surely attract more tourists given its significance to our history,” Gabornes said on Tuesday.
Citing accounts of local historians, the tourism officer said the dam construction was rushed after American Army Lt. Edward Milo surveyed the area in 1944. He led the civil works with the help of locals.
The dam supplied drinking water to American Forces based in Eastern Samar who came to liberate the country from the Japanese invaders.
Soldiers also fetched waters from the Sungduan dam and were loaded to barges docked at Bel-at port where Americans built a lighthouse.
The water supply were shipped to American camps in Okinawa, Japan and Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
The dam plays an important role in the World War II as it helped American soldiers survived during the war, according to Gabornes.
Despite the long process and the need for a lot of verifications, she is positive that if Sungduan would be acknowledged by the NCCA, their town will be known to many as well.
Lawaan is a 5th class town in Eastern Samar province with a population of 12,742. The town is 73 kilometers from Tacloban, the regional capital.
The National Cultural Heritage Act signed in 2009 mandates the registration of all cultural properties of the country, which the NCCA is mandated to establish and maintain through the appropriate cultural agencies and local governments.
The law defines cultural property as “all products of human creativity by which a people and a nation reveal their identity, including churches, mosques and other places of religious worship, schools and natural history specimens and sites.” (PMLE/PNA)