Editorial: Lapu-Lapu statue home soon

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Friday, June 27, 2014

SO the controversial 40-foot brass statue of Lapu-Lapu at the Luneta Park will soon be transferred to Punta Engaño in the city in Cebu that carries his name? This is an interesting development, although, considering the circumstances, this can signify either defeat or welcome.

The statue was donated by the Korean Freedom League in 2004 when the tourism secretary was former senator Richard Gordon, who thought that placing it at the Luneta Park was a good fit. The move was opposed by the National Historical Institute (NHI), which considers the park as the sole domain of Jose Rizal and other martyrs executed there by the Spaniards.

NHI head Ambeth Ocampo, a Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist who became a Benedictine monk, insisted that putting the Lapu-Lapu monument at the Luneta was a desecration of the park’s status as a national historical site.


What followed was a barrage of criticisms targeted at the project mostly from Manila-based personalities and opinion-makers, some of whom even went to the extent of putting down the chieftain’s heroism and his triumph against a Spanish expeditionary force led by Ferdinand Magellan in Mactan island in 1521.

Many Cebuanos, as expected, defended the move. And because the administration of then president Gloria Macapaga-Arroyo didn’t budge from its stance, the Lapu-Lapu statue remained standing at the Luneta and was aptly referred to as the Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom.

Having a Lapu-Lapu monument at a national park did serve the purpose of putting up statues for our heroes. Many non-Cebuanos who visited the park were prompted to learn more about the Mactan chieftain and his place not only in Philippine but also in world history.

But the fact remains that some personalities resented the decision of Gordon and the Arroyo administration. These personalities may soon be saying “good riddance” with the uprooting of the statue from the Luneta Park and its transfer to Mactan island.

Cebuanos, however, would welcome the transfer of the statue, a move actually initiated by the Lapu-Lapu City Government. After eight years, the statue will finally be home.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 28, 2014.


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