TIEZA turns over historic ‘Sunburst’ park to Iloilo City
By Perla Lena/PNA
ILOILO CITY — The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) turned over to the city government here the historic and newly-restored “Sunburst” Park on Friday.
TIEZA chief operating officer, Pocholo Joselito D. Paragas, said in an interview that it seemed like each place in the city has a story.
“From a historical perspective in terms of Customs House, this is I think one of the remaining three in the country,” Paragas said, adding that the other two could be found in Cebu and Davao.
The park, which cost an estimated PHP19.467 million to restore, is located right in front of the old Aduana building (Iloilo Customs House) and was named after the United States Army 40th Infantry “Sunburst” Division that helped liberate Panay from the Japanese Forces during the World War II.
Following the turnover, the city government will handle the operation and management of the park, which will serve as additional open space for the city.
It features a walkway, a chess playground, park benches, parking area, the Macario Peralta statue, and the Sunburst area.
Its revival is in line with the development of the Central Business District, which was declared a Heritage Zone by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
“Moving forward, we are hoping we can open a lot more of these places and what we really want to look at right now is to look into the rehabilitation, look at the master planning of places and proper maintenance of the area,” he said, noting that in terms of urban planning, the city’s radial pattern is fantastic.
Meanwhile, Senator Franklin Drilon, who initiated the funding of the park’s restoration, said in his message that the park was originally known as the Plaza de Aduana because it is situated right in front of the Customs House.
“In our effort to restore the heritage of Iloilo, we should study whether or not we should rename this in its original name, Plaza de Aduana,” he said.
He suggested that the Sangguniang Panlungsod study whether or not to bring back the original name, pointing out that Sunburst is the name of the US Army company that liberated Panay and they assembled at the park.
The senator also announced that he will bring the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers on February 11 to perform during the opening of the Economic Museum that will be housed at the newly-restored heritage building of the Commission on Audit.
Drilon hoped that the revival of the city’s rich cultural heritage will help “restore the old glory of Iloilo.”