BUHAY Partylist Representative Lito Atienza criticized the unceremonious removal of the statue of Filipino hero Marcelo H. Del Pilar from the Remedios Circle in Malate by the City Government of Manila without consulting the group Samahang Plaridel.
“I fully support the position of the Samahang Plaridel in condemning the removal of Del Pilar’s statue from Remedios Circle which we collaborated on during our time as Mayor. The City Government should have shown more respect for this monument and its historical significance as well as the association of veteran journalists whose project it was in the first place,” Atienza said during the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel.
In 2004, Atienza, then the mayor of Manila, helped Samahang Plaridel in raising funds and commissioned renowned sculptor Julie Lluch to make the seven-foot bronze statue of propagandist-journalist Marcelo H. Del Pilar, also known by his pen name Plaridel. The statue was originally erected in 2005 at the Paraiso ng Batang Maynila in front of Manila Zoo but was subsequently transferred to Remedios Cirlce in 2009.
“This is exactly what we have been fighting for—proper respect and recognition of the significance of our historical monuments such as that of modern day heroes Ninoy Aquino and Evelio Javier whose statues were removed by the Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH) from the central area of the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard almost a year ago. We had written DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson last June 1, 2015 calling his attention on the disappearance of the two statues of our heroes,” Atienza added.
He pointed out that no department should remove any historical monument without clearing it with the local government authorities and any private groups who are responsible for the project.
He said that the disrespect of monuments is the result of the lack of proper appreciation and valuing of our country’s rich history and culture.
Atienza filed House Bill 5878 restoring the original functions of the current Department of Education (DepEd) to the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) to strengthen the country’s cultural and sports development program.
“With the age of the internet, children nowadays are growing up being influenced by foreign cultures and ideas rather than learning our traditional Filipino values. How can we survive as a nation if our children are growing up without a solid cultural foundation? Since 1986 up to the present, five presidents have come and gone, and yet we have no cultural development program to speak of,” he said.