The soon to be completed rehabilitation of the old Casa Real, the first provincial capitol of Pangasinan, to its original beauty is set to be turned over to the provincial government here by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The provincial board on Monday approved a resolution authorizing Governor Amado I. Espino III to enter into and sign an amended Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with TIEZA and DPWH Second District Engineering Office for the turnover/acceptance of the restored Casa Real property.
Rehabilitation works on the historical edifice took off in 2016, said Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Officer Malu Elduayan.
Built 260 years ago, Casa Real is one of Lingayen’s oldest public buildings which served as Pangasinan’s seat of government during the Spanish colonial days. It was reduced into ruins during World War II but rebuilt to serve as a court house and location of some provincial government offices.
Phase 1 and Phase II of the rehabilitation covered different works such as on concrete beam and slab, masonry walls, roofing system and ceiling works, electrical works including installation generator set and power house, and office furniture.
The building which was also made into a museum, was likewise retrofitted with high-definition screen and audio system, security cameras and plumbing works including the putting up of cistern tank and fire sprinkler system.
Elduayan, who attended the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s regular session on Monday, disclosed the need to amend the previous MOA since TIEZA has a new chief executive officer in the person of Pocholo Paragas.
She added that from the initial amount of grant approved for the third phase of the project which amounted to PHP50 million, it was reduced to PHP39.9 million under the new administration.
The restoration efforts on the landmark structure were initiated by the former governor and now 5th district Representative Amado T. Espino, Jr. and 2nd district Representative Leopoldo N. Bataoil who sourced out PHP30 million from TIEZA and the DPWH to bankroll Phase II of the project.
The provincial government initially released PHP5 million to jump-start the first phase of the project. For the three phases, the funding cost totaled more than PHP68 million.
Earlier, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) declared Casa Real as a historical landmark in Pangasinan.
NHCP described the building as an outstanding example of civic architecture from the Spanish colonial period and is a beautiful monument to the artistry, craftsmanship and ingenuity of the builders. (PNA)