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“The Authority of the Government Emanates from the People”

Enthroned in our Constitution, this hallowed axiom of democracy and republicanism is proclaimed prominently on the concave pediment of the Cebu Provincial Capitol Building which was erected during the American occupation of the Philippines. It has been the seat of the government of the Province of Cebu since it was built in 1937 during the incumbency of Governor Sotero Cabahug.

It was designed by the late famous Filipino architect Juan Marcos Arellano whose works include such iconic buildings as Manila’s Metropolitan Theatre, the National Museum of the Philippines and the Manila Central Post Office Building.

Declared as a National Historical landmark, the Cebu Provincial Capitol is known as one of the oldest and most beautiful edifices of its kind in the country. During World War II, the structure sustained damage but was immediately restored after the global conflict ended.

The march of the years has changed the city and with it, the view around the Capitol. But the building – patterned after the U.S. Capitol and standing where Osmeña Boulevard and kilometer zero start – has retained its august and majestic beauty which glows even more lustrous when soft, subdued mood light hugs it at night.

The U-shaped Capitol Building has three levels at the main building that is crowned by a cupola and is flanked by two-level wings. Two gold-painted statues garbed in Roman toga- on the left, a man; on the right, a woman- stand atop each pilaster on the façade.

A trio of front portals open to a lobby from where commences at each side the two flights of stairs leading to the second floor that houses the Governor’s Office, Dignitaries Hall, the Gallery, the Social Hall, and several executive offices.

Also on the same floor is a balcony that overlooks a rectangular piazza, a flag pole and a tree-lined boulevard heading towards downtown Cebu City and a foyer above of which is a dome ceiling adorned with tableaus – painted as a kind of secular or civil Sistine chapel frescoes – paying homage to the various drivers of Cebuano industry and economy. At the foot of the dome is written the famed tripartite French national motto: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”

The Capitol building was inaugurated on June 14, 1938 by Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon who planted a tree to commemorate the event. Badi C. Berdin