Guam – The Legislature’s Hagåtña Revitalization Committee, headed by Sen. Kelly Marsh (Taitano), held a confirmation hearing this morning on appointees to the Hagåtña Restoration and Redevelopment Authority.
One of the interesting testimonies offered was that of historian and cultural advocate Carlos Madrid Alvarez-Piner who testified that funding for Hagåtña revitalization projects could actually be sourced from Spain.
Alvarez-Piner was previously the head of Instituto Cervantes in Manila, a non-profit organization created by the Spanish government responsible for promoting the study and the teaching of Spanish language and culture.
He pointed out that like the Philippines, Guam was a former colony of Spain and because of this, Spain continues to have a strong interest in Guam and the Marianas and could be a possible source of funding for historical restoration work.
“There’s a number of programs that open the possibility for us to apply for those and Guam and the CHamoru culture have a lot of sympathy in Spain. A simple online search will reveal a number of online communities that are actively engaging with the heritage of Guam and the Mariana islands,” he said.
Alvarez-Piner added; “There’s a number of Spanish government initiatives. One of them, that is very close by in Manila, is a foundation that provides training and allows the restoration of stone and wood in order to make them sustainable for our contemporary needs but keeping the standards of the historical buildings. In that sense, the Hagåtña Restoration and Redevelopment Authority fully falls within the scope of this foundation.”
Alvarez-Piner said the HRRA has to explore the right channels because of the unique political status of Guam. But he said it is entirely possible to tap Spanish sources of funding. In fact, Alvarez-Piner said he is already working on initiatives that can provide funding to the redevelopment authority.
Aside from Alvarez-Piner, the other nominees to the Hagåtña Restoration and Redevelopment Authority board are Patricia Ann P. Ada, and Eduardo J. Calvo.
Ada’s confirmation hearing has been postponed to May 30, 2019 because she was off-island.