The City Government of Puerto Princesa (CGPP) is currently seeking legislative action from the members of the city council to conduct the Cultural Heritage Mapping of selected urban areas.
In a letter from City Administrator Arnel Pedrosa dated October 21, City Mayor Lucilo Bayron requests the council to grant him the authority to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for the said purpose.
Certified as urgent by the executive department, the Committee on Legal Matters convened during the recess of the Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod on October 26 to tackle the important matter.
MOA’s SALIENT CONTENTS
City Councilor Nesario Awat, chairman of the Committee on Legal Matters, reported to the plenary that under the proposed MOA, the city’s obligation is to spearhead the implementation of the training program, to assign a project director to oversee the overall operation of the said program, and to coordinate with the LGU for partnership, involvement and counterpart funding of the project.
Likewise, the local government unit will provide funds amounting to ₱860,000. The source for this endeavor will be from the ₱2,000,000 lump sum funds for the Culture and Arts Development Plans of the CGPP.
The said amount will be allotted for the management fee amounting to ₱280,000 and for the professional fees of UST’s team members that costs ₱37,600 for the project director, or ₱150,000 for four months; ₱20,000 a month or a total of ₱80,000 is allotted for the project coordinator and ₱50,000 for the project assistant. Also included is the IT integration expenses amounting to ₱300,000.
UST will provide training design processes, provide the resource speakers and facilitators for the training program, maintain the record and spearhead the formulation of the project’s guideline for the cultural mapping, and ensure the successful implementation of the project in accordance with the MOA.
“Actually, ang Puerto Princesa po ang kauna-unahang iro-roll out nila nitong ganitong sistema na tinatawag nilang ‘Learning by Doing and Mapping by Gaming.’ So, tayo po ang kauna-unahan dito,” Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) head and City Planning & Development Coordinator Jovenee Sagun said when asked about the project.
Engr. Sagun further added that 35 instructors from Palawan Studies Center of Palawan State University (PSU) will be also their partners in conducting the Cultural Mapping of urban barangays.
“Kapag na-capacitate na sila, sila na ang magtutuloy para sa mga rural barangay natin,” she said.
She explained that the result of the proposed comprehensive inventory that they will be conducted for four straight months will serve as a database of all cultural assets of the City, be it man-made or natural resources, tangible and intangible.
This coming Friday, Engr. Sagun said that they will start training the 35 PSU instructors while in December, the data of Module 1 will be available. The project will officially commence upon contract signing of which the UST will upload the needed system.
QUESTIONED BY A COUNCIL MEMBER
Councilor Jimbo Maristela was skeptical about the allotted amount and reiterated that the city government actually has capable employees to do the cultural mapping and hiring a private institution is not necessary.
“Hindi po biro ang halagang ₱860,000. Gusto po nating malaman in particular kung ano ang kanilang gagawin at ano ang expertise ng mga taong ito na babayaran natin ng ganoong halaga,” Maristela said.
Justin Altea from the City Planning & Development Office, when asked by the members of the City Council, explained that the management fee is the uniform fee being charged by UST to their partner institutions and LGUs such as the City Government of Puerto Princesa in conducting a certain project.
The professional fee, he added, is the team’s incentives for the project. It is based on the expertise of the members of the UST team and the credentials of the project director who is recognized worldwide as an expert in cultural mapping. In addition, the IT integration expenses are for creating the online platform to be used for documentation and the use of geographical information systems and data.
“Sadly, the Puerto Princesa, wala pa po itong complete documentation on cultural resources that we have at mandated po under the law,” he said.
“We are not certain kung ilan pa [ang i-inventory nila] kasi, we will be including ‘yong mga intangible cultural asset natin, meaning ‘yong mga hindi nakikita. Like our local tradition, pwede ‘yong sa Cuyunon side — mayroong mga practices na hindi po nado-document,” Altea added.
But Maristela remains firm with his position that the council needs a legal opinion to enlighten them if the LGU is authorized to put a fund even through a MOA with a private institution.
With Councilor Maristela’s request to seek legal opinion first if the project need not be subjected for bidding, Councilor Victor Oliveros duly seconded the request and likewise suggested to recommit the subject matter. The chairman recommitted the item and calendared it as one of their agendas this coming Thursday, October 29.