DSCSP plans to renovate Shrine, library

TACLOBAN CITY– The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has leased out the two sequestered Marcos properties here in a city to a private corporation.
The People’s Center and Library and the Santo Niño Shrine and Museum are now being managed by the Center for the Development of Sustainable Communities for Social Progress (DSCSP).

The said company is owned by Dan Stephen Palami who is from this city who ran and lost against incumbent Mayor Alfred Romualdez during the 2007 elections.

Mayor Romualdez is the nephew of former first lady Imelda Marcos who was responsible for the construction of the two edifices, among the most prominent buildings in Tacloban City.

The two properties continued to be under the control of the PCGG as they are still considered sequestered suspected to be part of the so-called Marcos hidden wealth.

Noemi Duarte, regional PCGG representative, said that the contract of lease between DSCSP and the PCGG took effect on April 1 of this year and is good for one year but is subject for renewal.

“DSCSP has leased the (properties) for a year at P150,000 per month. Under the agreement, they also agreed to retain all the 18 employees,” she said in an interview on Monday (May 15).

Duarte and her immediate predecessor and now assets monitoring officer, Renior Dauag, are not part of the PCGG personnel who will be receiving salaries from the Palami-owned company but still with the government.

Duarte said that they are somehow happy that with a private company leasing the properties, the facilities could now be given some face-lifting.

She admitted that due to legal constraints, they could not just undertake some renovations to the edifices which were simultaneously constructed from 1979 to 1981.

“Even to procure a bulb for a chandelier, we have to ask from Manila. At least now, they can do some renovations and improvements,” Duarte said.

She, however, stressed that any major renovations still need permission from their central office considering the properties are still owned by the government.

The two buildings are now in poor condition due to lack of maintenance and through the passing of time.

Palami, in an interview on a local television station, said that they have decided to lease the properties considering they are considered as among Tacloban’s top tourist destinations, especially the museum.

“Let us not politicize this issue. The properties, particularly the Santo Niño Shrine, is among our top tourist destinations. These are considered as iconic destinations in the city,” he said.

“I hope Madame (Marcos) will be happy with our planned renovations,” Palami added.
Palami, however, admitted that renovating the two properties would be costly.
Just for the Santo Niño Shrine and Museum will take ‘more than P100 million alone,’ he said.

He declined to say how much their company has earmarked for the renovations.
The People’s Center and Library houses around a million of books, magazines, and manuscripts while the shrine contains religious icons and paintings, some made by national artists like Mauro Malang.

The shrine is commonly referred as the former first lady’s residence in the city she last visited in 2014, a year after Tacloban was pummeled by Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda.’