THE HECTIC morning sessions we arranged for the visiting UBC students the whole of last week proved too taxing I had to take a breather the last few days; this week, most of them will be off to gather data for their research, culminating with a public presentation on June 6 and 7.
But yesterday and the other day, what attracted my attention is the on-going information campaign being undertaken by the Naga City Council for Culture and the Arts in regard of the proposal to change the name of Plaza Quezon to Plaza Arejola, in honor of the Bikol and Naga revolutionary Gen. Ludovico Arejola. In an earlier post, I wrote this
Bikol Reporter bats for changing Plaza Quezon's name to Plaza Arejola, arguing that the name change affirms "that Naga today loves not Quezon less but it loves Arejola more and it resolved to give...honor long due him." Its columnist behind "Ini an Totoo" seconds the motion. Lawyer Luis Ruben General however vehemently disagrees in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Bicol Mail two weeks back, and still unavailable online. General argues the city should leave Plaza Quezon alone, in honor of the former president who helped crystallize the concept of nationhood during his tenure.Yesterday, local historian and journalist Jose Fernando Obias explained there is a pending measure in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, and before a final decision is made, the Arts and Culture Council was directed to disseminate information on the matter through all media outlets, with the end view of starting a local debate on the matter.
Backing the advocacy are Minalabac folks who also support the idea. Previously, I was surprised why non-Naga residents are actually at the forefront of this effort; when Joe spoke in the city government radio program An Naga Ngonian last Saturday, it turned out General Arejola, who led the defense of Ambos Camarines against the invading Americans, made his last stand at sitio Mata in Minalabac town.
Joe O, who joined me yesterday morning in Joe Grageda's Todo Libre show at DZGE, intimated that some members of the current council, whose term will end on June 30, 2007, are not too keen on the name change. But Kabikolan, an advocacy group of which he is a leading light, is hoping the new council will be more open to the idea.
I am strongly sympathetic to their advocacy. It is about writing and rewriting our own history from our own perspectives, and it will start with elevating freedom fighters like General Arejola in a local pantheon of heroes where they should properly belong.