Don’t move Lapu-Lapu statue to Cebu yet, says congressman
Del Mar laments ‘loss of honor’ for Mactan hero with removal from Luneta
Rep. Raul del Mar is asking tourism and Lapu-Lapu city officials to hold off acting on the city’s request to transfer to Cebu a statue of Mactan chieftan Lapu-Lapu from Manila.
He said moving out the bronze statue from the Rizal Park in Luneta would mean a “loss of honor and recognition” for Cebu province and its hero.
Del Mar said Cebuanos should be asked first their sentiments about the move.
“Must we shun that recognition almost a decade after it was accorded and revert to the old days when tribute to Lapu-Lapu was confined to Cebu?” he asked.
Del Mar was one of two lawmakers who in 2004 urged the Office of the President to grant the proposal to erect a statue of Lapu-Lapu at the Rizal Park in Manila. Their intention was to honor Lapu-Lapu as the Philippines’ first defender of freedom, not just in Mactan island or in Cebu but in other places as well.
The P15-million brass statue was donated by the Korean Freedom League and was sculpted by artist Juan Sajid Imao.
Called the “Sentinel of Freedom”, a plaque on the monument says it was a gift from Korea as appreciation and to honor the memory of freedom-loving Filipinos who helped during the Korean War in the early 1950s. Del Mar said that if Lapu-Lapu City needs another statue of the hero, it could raise funds without taking away Lapu-Lapu’s presence from Manila.
Having the statue at the Rizal Park in Luneta, a main tourist attraction, would expand the “breadth and and width of the honor accorded him by not just limiting it to Lapu-Lapu City but by making it a national recognition as well,” del Mar and former congresswoman Nerissa Soon-Ruiz had stated in a resolution at the House of Representatives.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paza Radaza, however, had requested Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. for the statue to be taken “home” to barangay Punta Engaño in the city to an area named after Datu Mangal, who was reportedly Lapu-Lapu’s father.
“Sure na na. Ang pagbalhin na lang,” Radaza was quoted as saying. Also, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines had already checked the area where the statue will be transferred.
However, the Datu Mangal area has yet to be developed so the plan is to temporarily place the statue at the city’s Hoops Dome.
Del Mar, however, does not agree and appeals for more discussion before the move is made.
“The grant of space at Rizal Park for Lapu-Lapu was a hard-earned concession, a public relations coup for the Cebuano hero and the province he represented, as it recognizes him as a national public figure in history. Moving the statue from Manila would remove that highly visible symbol of recognition,” del Mar stated in a statement released to the press.
The Cebu City lawmaker pointed out that Lapu-Lapu is already “more than adequately honored and praised” in Cebu.
“Acquisition of the statue now standing at Rizal Park, even if national agencies would pay for moving the statue, would be our loss, Lapu-Lapu’s and Cebu’s…. We might gain a statue; we’d lose the opportunity for Lapu-Lapu’s and Cebu’s honor,” said del Mar.
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