CEBU CITY, Philippines - Starting today, Fort San Pedro will be managed and maintained by the Cebu City government.
During ceremonies yesterday at City Hall, the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) turned over the structure to Vice Mayor Michael Rama, ending its administration of the oldest Spanish-era fort in the country.
Dhalia Amador, human resources manager of the PTA, said the fort was an ?endangered structure? due to its age, and hoped the city government could maintain the building for the benefit of future generations.
Amador, who signed the turnover papers in place of PTA Manager Robert Dean Barbers, said the city government may make changes to or build additional structures in the fort, but cautioned that the structure?s historical value is preserved.
She said the fort plays a major role in Cebu?s history and tourism.
?It would be good if Cebuanos would continue to be aware of their legacy. Awareness of this legacy would help people?s determination to develop the area,? Amador said.
Joey Salgado, outgoing fort administrator, said the centuries-old building is a good revenue generator, earning P100,000 to P200,000 a month during non-peak seasons, and P400,000 to P500,000 during peak months of December and January.
Income is earned from entrance fees and special events held inside the fort. Salgado said the PTA turned over the fort at the request of the Cebu City government, who has asked for years to take charge of the structure.
He said the city government is in the best position to run the place.
While the official turnover ceremonies was held yesterday, the memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed on Nov. 20, 2007. Mayor Tomas Osmeña signed in behalf of the city, while Barbers signed for the PTA.
The MOA gives the city government full control of the fort?s administration, management, operations and maintenance.
Vice Mayor Rama, chairman of the city?s Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission, yesterday received the fort in behalf of the city.
Rama said that City Hall would form an advisory body to oversee the fort. The group will be composed of city councilors as well as personnel from the parks and playgrounds commission, the City Treasurer?s Office, the Department of Public Services, and other City Hall departments.
The city government, Rama said, would also develop the area surrounding the fort, including Plaza Independencia, which is already under the management of the city?s parks and playgrounds commission.
?We will make extra efforts to make the fort clean and orderly. We will clearly manage this because it is a historical site,? the vice mayor said.