Sugar museum to be established in Negros Occidental city

Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez (left) and City Engineer Mary Jean Majaducon (right) show Director-General Jeremy Barns of the National Museum of the Philippines around the Victorias City Hall on Monday (Aug. 28, 2023). On the same day, Benitez and Barns signed a usufruct agreement for the establishment of a regional museum for Negrense sugar heritage and indigenous flora and fauna in the northern Negros city. (Photo courtesy of Victorias City Information Office)

BACOLOD City – The city government of Victorias in Negros Occidental has entered into a 50-year usufruct agreement with the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) for the establishment of a regional museum for Negrense sugar heritage and indigenous flora and fauna.

The museum will be housed at the Victorias City Hall, considered a significant heritage building, once it is vacated by the local government unit when its seat of power transfers to the New Government Center located at Sidlak Victorias Global City, the date of which has yet to be finalized.

It will be known as the NMP-Victorias, Negros Occidental.

“We’re very excited about this partnership,” Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez said in a statement on Tuesday.

In rites held at the City Hall on Monday, Benitez signed the deed of usufruct together with NMP Director-General Jeremy Barns, in the presence of the mayor’s uncle, Third District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez, NMP Visayas National Museums Director II Ma. Cecilia Tirol, and City Administrator Lindolf De Castro.

“The partnership with the NMP and hopefully, with the Department of Tourism, will bring not only awareness but also education, honor, and tourists to Victorias City and help people rise from economic hardships,” Benitez said.

Under the agreement, which grants the NMP the right to use the city’s structure for 50 years, a permanent regional museum and a satellite office of the NMP will be established in Victorias.

Benitez said the mayor thinks that the idea of such a museum in the city, which will be the first NMP component museum in Negros Occidental, would complete his vision of both a new and reinvigorated Victorias.

“One that is nonetheless tied and conscious to its long heritage and history,” the lawmaker added.

Barns said the NMP is committed to make the young mayor’s vision a reality.

“This museum that we will be putting together, conceptualizing in consultation with you and the stakeholders, this will be our best yet, for sure,” he said. (PNA)