THE local government of Baguio and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) have entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the conservation and rehabilitation management of the Diplomat Hotel in advance of its redevelopment into a creative hub for the culture and arts of Baguio City.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong and NCCA Chairman Arsenio Lizaso signed the MOA near the end of May, providing for the partnership and engagement of conservation specialists and experts, who will aid the crafting of policy for redeveloping the Diplomat Hotel, also known as the Dominican Hill Retreat Center.
A Conservation Management Plan (CMP) of the site will be funded by the NCCA with some P15 million worth of grant money, to be drawn from public bids under procurement law and terms of reference in the MOA.
Prior to the proper conduct of the CMP, the city will undertake consultations with stakeholders, training and capacity building for its proper management and conservation, cultural mapping, and architectural and engineering mapping.
The project entails the conduct of preliminary studies to determine the view protection, preparation of a business model and 3D models, public presentations and consultation, and a policy recommendation, as well as other initiatives to better conserve the site.
Parts of the redevelopment plan include a high school for culture and the arts to cater to students from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region 1, funded both nationally and locally through congressional initiatives by representatives Mark Go of Baguio, Christopher de Venecia of Pangasinan and Geraldine Roman of Bataan.
The grant is in line with the NCCA’s mandate under Republic Act No. 7356, otherwise known as the Law Creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, which mandates the commission to “encourage the continuing and balanced development of a pluralistic culture by the people, conserve and promote the nation’s cultural heritage, ensure the widest dissemination of artistic and cultural products, and preserve and integrate traditional culture and its various creative expression as a dynamic part of the national cultural mainstream.”