RESTORED. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) turns over to the Iloilo City government the newly-restored Ker and Co. Ltd building, Tuesday (July 24, 2018). (Photo by Perla Lena) 


ILOILO CITY -- The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is eyeing this highly urbanized city to become a “model in the country as heritage zone.”

“The whole district has been declared as heritage zone. And this area will also in the future be declared as another heritage zone for the city of Iloilo,” said Ludovico Badoy, Executive Director of the NHCP during the inauguration of the Ker Co. Ltd building on Tuesday.

The newly-restored building situated at the back of the City Hall was funded by the NHCP. It was declared as an “important cultural property” and turned over to the Iloilo City government following the signing of the deed of transfer of the historical marker and the certificate of transfer of the newly restored historic building.

“I would like to congratulate the leaders of Iloilo for really giving importance to your heritage structures and to your history,” he said, in an interview after the turnover ceremony.

He said the commission spent less than PHP18 million to restore the building to include air-conditioning, closed circuit television and the smoke detector. Prior the restoration, the two-storey building was used as a warehouse.

With the help of their architects and engineers, he said that the restoration was meticulously done to ensure the authenticity of the building. They also have to remove unnecessary fixtures that were put in the structure.

In his message prior the unveiling of the historical marker for the building, Badoy underscored that Ker and Co. Ltd played a significant role in the trade and commerce during the colonial times.

It first opened a branch in Manila and Singapore in 1827 and expanded in Iloilo in 1862 that was managed by William Ker Jr.

Nicholas Loney, who was the British vice-consul based in Iloilo during the 19th century, was one of the employees of the company. Iloilo City’s Muelle Loney street just beside the Iloilo River was named after him.

“Ker and Company was one of the pioneering companies in terms of coming up with the sugar industry in the Philippines through the city and province of Iloilo,” Badoy said.

“This is where it all started; sugarcane economy of the province and city of Iloilo,” he added.

He also urged everyone to treasure and take good care of the heritage structure, being an important cultural property.

Badoy said that it is now up to the city government on how it will utilize the structure.

In a previous interview, Mayor Jose Espinosa said that the ground floor will be occupied by the City Tourism and Development Office. A space will also be provided as display area for Ilonggo products.

Adjacent the Ker building is the old building of the Commission on Audit that was also restored by the NHCP. It will be transformed into an economic museum, Badoy said.

“In other words you will see in the future, maybe in a year’s time when the structure is already through. The next will be the museum proper. So, I just want to ask from all of your patience; it will be paid off by a beautiful museum that you will all love,” he added.

To integrate the two heritage structures, the NHCP according to Mayor Espinosa already downloaded PHP16 million to be used to establish a park in between the two buildings. (PNA)