Cagayan De Oro City

Duterte signs law establishing cultural center, museum in Cagayan de Oro

Froilan Gallardo
Duterte signs law establishing cultural center, museum in Cagayan de Oro

WATER TOWER. The century-old Cagayan de Oro Water Tower looms behind the trees in this 2019 photo. It now houses the city museum, main repository for the city’s history and heritage.

Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

The envisaged Cagayan de Oro Cultural Center and Museum will serve as an 'institutional medium for the collection, preservation, and enhancement' of local heritage and history

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte signed a new law to put in place a new repository for Cagayan de Oro’s culture, art, historical, and religious heritage.

Signed on Tuesday, May 24, Republic Act No. 11771 seeks to establish a cultural center and museum in Cagayan de Oro City.

Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative, said the envisaged Cagayan de Oro Cultural Center and Museum would serve as an “institutional medium for the collection, preservation, and enhancement” of local heritage and history.

Based on the measure which he authored in 2021, Rodriguez said the funds for the construction of the cultural center and museum would come from the annual budget of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

He said the succeeding budget for the project would be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“The local government of Cagayan de Oro is also mandated to provide the land for the construction of the cultural center, museum, and offices,” Rodriguez said.

At present, the city’s main repository for its heritage and historical artifacts is a century-old structure near Gaston Park that once served as a water reservoir for the old Cagayan de Oro. It was turned into a museum a few years ago.

Constructed in 1921 during the American occupation of the Philippines, the “Water Tower” is the oldest public structure in the city.

OLD TOWER. Cagayan de Oro’s century-old Water Tower as seen from Gaston Park near city hall and the Saint Augustine Cathedral. Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

Jesus Christopher Salon of the City Museum said the structure was used to store and distribute water coming from the mountains to Cagayan de Oro, which was then known as Cagayan de Misamis.

Salon said old photographs of Cagayan de Oro, as well as some archeological finds, are stored in the three-story structure. 

Aside from the Water Tower, the city hosts two other museums established by Xavier University and Capitol University.

Meanwhile, President Duterte also signed Republic Act 11770, creating the Kalinga Cultural Center and Museum in Kalinga province, and Republic Act 11772, creating the Biliran Cultural Center and Museum in Biliran province. – Rappler.com

Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.