Thursday, 11 September 2014

Save the Anda Monument

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Here’s an update fresh from “Bummer Land”: The government is removing the Anda Monument from the Anda Circle! Apparently, it has no significant value whatsoever... The monument, situated at Bonifacio Drive was proposed to be removed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), because it was deemed to be the ONLY solution to ease the traffic situation. The proposal was approved by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), The Intramuros Administration, and surprisingly, by The National Historical Institute.

To any of you who don’t know the historical significance of the Anda Monument, here is a quick recap: The Anda Monument was originally placed near the Pasig River and it was moved along Bonifacio Drive after the war after the construction of the Del Pan Bridge. It is one of the few surviving monuments in Manila since the war, hence it’s historical and cultural significance and value. Now, you can imagine the intensity of my disappointment.

The rotonda was built to commemorate the legacy of Simon de Anda y Salazar, a former Spanish Governor-General of Manila. He was known for organizing the resistance movement against the invaders during the British Occupation of Manila and for his military service during the Seven Years’ War. Simon d Anda y Salazar died on October 30, 1776 in the Hospital de San Felipe, in Cavite at the age of 76.

Aside from the monument erected in Bonifacio Drive to honor his legacy, municipalities such as “San Simon” in Pampanga, “Anda” in both Bohol and Pangasinan were named after him. A street was also named after him in Vitoria, close to his hometown Subijana in Northern Spain. Clearly, he has made remarkable things during his time.

Although Simon de Anda y Salazar is not a Filipino, he has mostly served our country being Manila’s Governor-General during his prime. Also, if you think about it, our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal has a monument in both Germany and China, despite of the fact that he is a Filipino national. I don’t think the Germans and the Chinese think about issues such as nationality, what matters most to them is giving due honor to individuals who deserve it.

(my friend Toia Avenido)

Our former President Carlos P. Garcia gave a speech on June 8, 1957 about the monument of Simeon de Anda y Salazar, as it was just erected. He tackled the historical and cultural significance of Simon de Anda y Salazar, how he was a Governor-General for the Filipinos, and how he changed Philippine history forever.

To quote President Carlos P. Garcia, “Why must the memory of Simon de Anda y Salazar, a Spanish governor-general, be immortalized in Philippine history? Why should a monument be erected to perpetuate his name? These are questions that must be answered on this memorable occasion that we set aside to rededicate the monument in his honor. I will start by saying that Simon de Anda transcended his time. Sent by Spain as a colonial governor over the Filipinos in 1770 at a time when colonialism was generally identified with abuses, oppression, and exploitation of the colonized masses, Simon de Anda on the contrary defended the Filipinos from such injustices and despotism. Simon de Anda was a hero in three important episodes of Philippine history.”

In recent news, according to Rappler: "The DPWH has not yet finalized plans of where to move the monument. But according to NHCP Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, the commission's recommendation in 2012 was to transfer the monument to Maestranza Plaza inside Intramuros, also in Manila. "| Rappler

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