Roa: The other heroes-A A +A
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
THE Demolay group headed by Crisanto "Bobo" Abellanosa did a very laudable job of restoring to its old glory the President Ramon Magsaysay and Local Heroes Memorial.
The statue of the president was erected in his memory by City Mayor Justiniano R. Borja in 1962 and is the first of its kind in our country.
On the side panel of this monument facing the R.N. Abejuela St. are the 25 names of our local heroes – men who rendered exceptional deeds in service to our city and country in times of war and peace.
While many of us are familiar with some of the names found in the Local Heroes Memorial like Apolinar Velez, Uldarico Akut or Tomas Saco, for these are names of prominent streets in the city. However, there are other heroes that many know next to nothing about. Like Clementino Chaves and Clemente Chacon – both have similar first names.
Senyor Mentoy was a young man who volunteered his services to the local army at that time when Cagayan de Misamis (Cagayan de Oro). It was governed by local elected officials under the Aguinaldo revolutionary government.
According to the late Judge Francisco X. Velez, Senyor Mentoy was assigned to head a small group of men in Buntola Hill in Macasandig, in that crucial time when people were preparing for the eventuality that American troops would come and take full possession of Mindanao. He brought with him a black horse with silver accoutrements and a pair of fancy field glasses that he used to regularly scan Macajalar bay.
Then, on March 30, 1900, he espied American warships unloading troops and war equipment near the mouth of Cagayan River. He then ordered their lone cannon to be fired for it was the agreed warning sign that the Americans had arrived.
He then went to the mountains to join the newly formed resistance army group known as the Liber Troop that was headed by Gen. Nicolas Capistrano and was given the rank of second lieutenant. He was assigned as aide de camp to his brother-in-law, Col. Apolinar Velez, head of the Western Division.
After the Battle of Macahambus Hill, the Americans had many casualties that they staged a more aggressive campaign to capture and defeat the soldiers of the Western Division.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 18, 2014.