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UPV main building up for restoration

The University of the Philippines Visayas Main Building will be restored in 2017 in accordance with international and national conservation standards. The restoration will be facilitated by the National Historical Council of the Philippines (NHCP) with a grant of P40M from the national government.

A group of NHCP personnel headed by Architect Friscian Panganiban inspected the building on October 26, 2016 to assess the extent of restoration to be done. The conservation plan shall rehabilitate the structure with regard to its structural soundness, architectural, and historical integrity based on scientific studies and historical research.

Dr. Evelyn Belleza, Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development and Vice Chancellor for Administration, Nestor Yunque discussed the plan with them. The committee that submitted the proposal for its restoration headed by Prof. Martin Genodepa assisted the NHCP in the inspection of the structure. A signing of the Memorandum of Agreement is scheduled soon to finalize the plan of action.

The UPV Main Building was originally conceptualized by the famed Filipino architect Juan Arellano in 1933. Sculptural decorations were executed by the famous Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti with the assistance of local artisans. The local newspaper Ang Makinaugalingon in its July 10, 1934 issue described the structure as the biggest and most beautiful building in the Philippines during the Commonwealth Period.

Its construction was completed in 1935, and it was formally inaugurated in December 1936 amidst the fanfare that accompanied the elevation of Iloilo to the status of chartered city with the building becoming as the Iloilo City capitol. The city executive government then occupied the building until April 1942 when the Japanese invasion forced them out.

In December 1945, the Iloilo City Council led by Mayor Fernando Lopez sought the opening of a UP branch in Iloilo, with the endorsement of then Congressman Oscar Ledesma. The request was reiterated to the UP Board of Regents in April 1946 while a unanimously approved council resolution formally donated the pre-war city hall building for the use of UP Iloilo College (UPIC) which opened in Iloilo on July 1, 1947. On August 24, 1949, Mayor Vicente Ybiernas and UP President Bienvenido Gonzales signed “a deed of donation, which made legal and definite the use of the building and site by UP Iloilo College (UPIC). (With sources from the Research of Dr. Randy Madrid on the UPV Main Building (CWVS))

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