REP. Raul Del Mar (Cebu City, North district) requested to put off the Lapu-Lapu City Government’s plan of transferring the 40-foot brass statue of Lapu-lapu to Cebu from its current site in Rizal Park, Manila.

Del Mar and former congresswoman Nerissa Soon-Ruiz filed a resolution before urging former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to have the statue placed at the Rizal Park, also known as Luneta, despite the opposition of the National Historical Institute (NHI).

NHI said the park is only for heroes who died there.

Recently, Lapu-lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said their request to Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. was granted that the giant statue will be transferred to Lapu-lapu City.

In his press statement, Del Mar said the plan of transferring the existing Lapu-lapu statue in Luneta should be deferred and studied further.

“The original intention was to honor Lapu-Lapu as the country’s first defender of our freedom, not just in Lapu-Lapu City but also in other places of the country,” a part of Del Mar’s statement read.

He said their request before to make Rizal Park’s Agrifina Circle as the site of the Lapu-Lapu monument was to “expand the breadth and width of the honor” given to Lapu-lapu.

Earlier, Radaza said they plan to put the statue in an area called Datu Mangal, who is believed to be the father of Lapu-lapu, in Barangay Punta Engaño.

The mayor said an official from the National Historical Commission and the sculptor of Lapu-lapu in Manila already came to Cebu and checked the site.

“The grant of space at the 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 said.

“We might gain a statue; but we’d lose the opportunity for Lapu-Lapu’s and Cebu’s honor,” Del Mar said.

“My  request  is  to  put  off  the  transfer  until  the  issue  can  befurther discussed,  especially  among  Cebuanos  who  should  be affected  most  by the what I believe is diminution of the hero’s stature,” he said.