SIXTEEN years after it was unceremoniously booted out of its own building, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu will finally have a new, permanent home.
This comes after it broke ground for the construction of the New Aduana de Cebu Building, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021.
The bureau announced Friday, Oct. 29, that Port of Cebu District Collector Charlito Martin Mendoza led the groundbreaking ceremony for a contemporary four-story building that will be built on the 2,275-square-meter lot fronting the old Sulpicio Lines Terminal Building that the Port of Cebu is currently occupying.
Mendoza called the groundbreaking “a dream come true.”
He thanked Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero for his full support for the project.
Mendoza said the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), led by CPA General Manager Leonilo Miole, had granted the bureau long-term use of the property where the new customs building would rise.
“Our people and stakeholders have waited so long for a new office. We set our goal to complete the construction by December 2022. Hopefully we can begin moving in even before then. The sooner we can transfer our offices to the new building, the better, so that our people can work in a more conducive environment, and we can better serve our stakeholders in a safer, bigger and more comfortable space,” Collector Mendoza said.
The New Aduana de Cebu will have a bigger Customer Care Center, as well as conference and training rooms, a cafeteria, clinic and garden.
Its design will be inspired by the Malacañang sa Sugbo, the building built in 1910 to house the Bureau of Customs at the Port of Cebu before it was converted into the presidential center in the Visayas in 2005 during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
On its conversion into the Malacañang sa Sugbo, the BOC, which owns the building, was forced to vacate the building and hold office instead at the passenger terminal building owned by the CPA beside the Cebu International Port.
The Malacañang sa Sugbo building was later damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Cebu in October 2013 and condemned.
In 2019, the BOC made plans to renovate it so that it could reoccupy the building after Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in 2018 informed BOC that Malacañang had returned the building to the BOC.
After the return of the building to the BOC, the CPA took over the berthing area behind the building so it could decongest other ports.
Local Customs officials said then that they deserved a more decent office than their present office at the CPA passenger terminal.
But the BOC Port of Cebu’s renovation plans were thwarted in mid-2019 when Medialdea and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III authorized the National Museum to transform the Malacañang sa Sugbo into a museum and tourist attraction.
On Dec. 13, 2019, the National Museum of the Philippines signed a usufruct agreement with the CPA to use the century-old building for 25 years beginning Jan. 15, 2020, ending the BOC’s dream of reoccupying it. (CTL)