Briones: Sudden change of heart

On The Go

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella did not say why the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) decided not to push through with plans to put up a park in honor of Lapu-Lapu at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Labella said he was told during a recent discussion with Commission officials that a monument for the Cebuano hero would rise at his namesake city right across the channel instead.

Never mind that a monument already exists there.

I suppose they’ll just have to spruce it up. Perhaps make it bigger and make it glitter. After all, less than two years from now, Cebu will celebrate the 500 years since Lapu-Lapu killed the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in a battle in Mactan.

No big deal, right?

After all, the guy’s no Jose Rizal, the national hero the Americans picked for us. For one thing, he did not want to be part of Spain or to have the archipelago represented in the Cortes. Heck, he didn’t even know where Madrid was, let alone cared. He just wanted to kick the butt of the upstart who dared invade his shores.

Well, had the plan materialized, the Cebu City Government would have been obliged to give up five hectares of the SRP after it earlier agreed to do so because aside from a national monument, the NHCP also wanted to build a museum and a grandstand that could accommodate a large crowd.

But why build something that will benefit the very people who have been forced to shoulder the burden of paying for the expensive undertaking that made the SRP possible?

Cebu City already has the Plaza Independencia. The Fuente Osmeña. The Family Park. So I guess it has no need to establish a public gathering place that will serve as an alternative to malls that have cropped up around the city?

By the way, who wants to hang out it in the open surrounded by trees and whatnot? There’s hardly any fresh air left in the metro, anyway.

Museum? Let them go to Casa Gorordo. And why build another grandstand? The city already has one at the Cebu City Sports Center. Never mind if it can hardly accommodate students from different schools, countless participants of grassroots sports programs and health-conscious individuals or groups.

At any rate, I believe that a “Quincentennial Park” should be set up. At the very least, to remind us that our past was stolen from us.

We need to know who we were before we become “Little Brown Americans.” Or even “Filipinos.” In fact, if I remember my history correctly, we of brown skin or of Chinese ancestry would not have even qualified to be called as such during the Spanish era. The term “Filipino” was reserved for the insulares and the peninsulares. We would have been called indios or chinos.

That once upon a time, what is now the Philippines was composed of different kingdoms, rajahnates and sultanates that traded with the rest of Southeast Asia and East Asia.

Hold on a minute! Why am I ranting like a Pan-Malay nationalist when we all know why the plan for a “Quincentennial Park” at the SRP was really scrapped?

After going through the trouble of asking the Cebu City Government to provide a lot at the SRP to immortalize Lapu-Lapu’s heroism, the Commission suddenly makes a 180. Hmm.

How fortuitous for Cebu City then. It can go ahead and sell that parcel of land to the highest bidder.


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