Renaming of street stirs city council session-A A +A
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
HAD it not for the swift intervention of Councilor Juan Sia, the controversy involving the renaming of Montalvan St. would have died a natural death.
During Tuesday’s session, residents of Montalvan and Kalambaguhan Streets and some members of Bangon Kagay-an attended the regular session of the City Council supposedly to air their side on the proposed renaming of Montalvan St. to Felix Y. Manalo St. in honor of the founder of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), as earlier proposed by Councilor Alvin Calingin.
But the group almost lost hope when city councilors did not even bother to tackle the issue as the session was about to end.
However, Sia bravely initiated a discussion and filed a motion requesting his colleagues to listen to the group’s concerns.
His request, however, was barred by Councilor President Elipe who suggested to schedule a date for the group to discuss and air their side.
Because of this, a commotion ensued inside the plenary hall which opted vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas to have a recess as he called on some representatives of the group -- Eduardo Montalvan and Olivia Marban – to join in the discussion.
After the session, Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya assured the group that the City Council will act appropriately on the issue.
Nacaya then requested Montalvan and Marban to submit their opinion for the council’s basis for review.
Montalvan said he was very thankful to Sia for taking the initiative to discuss the issue, saying that what the City Council did was an illegal process.
“They should have consulted us before they will rename the street,” he said.
He claimed that it is the National Historical Commission (NHC) that gives the go signal for the renaming of a street, as provided for in Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act.
“Based on the law, the locals or even the national legislature cannot change the name of streets without the approval of the NHC. And a public hearing must be conducted,” Montalvan said.
Montalvan St. was named after his grandfather, Antonio Montalvan, one of three brothers who fought the Japanese during World War II.
Eldest brother Jesus Montalvan served as intelligence officer in the guerrilla unit led by Colonel Wendell Fertig while Jose served as camp commander of the Philippine Auxiliary Tactical Air Group, now called Camp Edilberto Evangelista.
Antonio was also in the intelligence group of Fertig’s guerrillas and was tasked to gather information about the Japanese in Manila and deliver this to Fertig in Oroquieta, Misami Occidental through banca or outrigger canoes.
He was later captured by the Japanese while staying at his wife’s ancestral home in Tayabas, Quezon and was beheaded with other captured guerillas at the Chinese Cemetery. A monument honoring them still stands at the North Cemetery.
Last week, Calingin filed three resolutions, one of which is to rename Montalvan St. to “Felix Y. Manalo St.”
The other resolutions he filed is to declare July 27, 2012 and every year thereafter as INC Day in Cagayan de Oro City and naming the road from the junction of Concordio Diel St. and Villarin St. in Barangay Carmen to the landfill in upper Dagong up to the boundary of Barangay Canitoan as “Eraño V. Manalo St.” in honor of INC’s former executive minister.
But Calingin’s proposal drew flak from several residents, local historians and civic-political groups who vowed to stage a protest if the City Council would approve the resolution.
They said the proposal was just a “political stunt” ahead of next year's elections.
“Good thing they did not push through with the resolution otherwise the issue will proceed to court,” Montalvan said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 18, 2012.