AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL SENATORS OF THE PHILIPPINES,
CHAIRMAN AMBETH OCAMPO AND COMMISSIONERS OF THE NHI,
ARCH. REYNALDO INOVERO OF THE NHI,
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR CULTURE AND THE ARTS (NCCA)
THE DOTC, LRTA, MMDA,
MAYOR RECOM ECHIVERRI AND CALOOCAN CITY COUNCIL,
CHIEF JUSTICE REYNATO PUNO,
PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO,
VICE PRESIDENT NOLI DE CASTRO,
GOVERNORS AND CONGRESSMEN OF THE EIGHT PROVINCES
THAT FIRST ROSE IN REVOLT AGAINST SPAIN IN AUGUST 1896,
UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORG. (UNESCO),
WORLD MONUMENTS FUND (WMF)
DEPED SECRETARY JESLI LAPUS, CHED CHAIRMAN EMMANUEL ANGELES
OTHER DEPED & CHED OFFICIALS MANDATED TO TEACH
RESPECT FOR AND PRESERVATION OF PHILIPPINE CULTURE,
HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES PROFESSORS AND TEACHERS
NOTED FILIPINO ARTISTS AND OTHER CIVIC LEADERS,
MEMBERS OF PHILIPPINE MEDIA,
PEOPLE OF CALOOCAN CITY, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
AND EVERY PINOY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
17 June 2009
Yesterday, June 16, 2009, the Philippine Senate started its inquiry into vanishing cellphone loads, a phenomenon that has stricken no less than the Honorable Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President.
As the investigation began yesterday, cellphone users across the country cheered as the Senate once again did this country some concrete service. June 16, 2009 was a milestone for the Filipino consumer.
But even as the Senate protects the rights of the Philippine consuming public, I fervently wish that it will also take one simple step of reminding our public officials to stop the ongoing desecration of the Monumento. Chief Justice Reynato Puno reminded us in stark terms several days ago, "Wala pong tunay na katwiran na magdiwang ang ating kalayaan kung ganito ang kalagayan ng ating Inang Bayan."
He must have had the abject poverty widespread in our country, the untold graft and corruption and the looming specter of Cha-cha and Con-Ass uppermost in his mind when he uttered those words.
But right in front of his eyes, there was these — giant billboards dwarfing the Monumento, a giant crane and a drilling equipment boring a hole right at the Monumento Rotonda where, reportedly, foundation posts in support of either a physical interconnection between the LRT and MRT3 or a passenger walkway will be placed.
This is a desecration that even the dreaded Japanese Imperial Army did not dare do during the Second World War. Which Chief Justice of the Philippines, do you think, will approve of that?!
I call on the Philippine Senate to come to the defense of our national dignity and honor by inquiring into the vanishing Monumento. Two vistas of the Monumento are now gone — the one at Rizal Avenue which has been blocked long ago by the LRT
and now, the vista from EDSA which is now blocked by the MRT3 whose northwestern end is now just meters away from the Monumento.
Right now, the remaining two vistas of the Monumento are from Samson Road and MacArthur Avenue. Once they go down, the Monumento will be completely encircled ... vanished from view ... the greatest monument to valor and to love of freedom on earth imprisoned! It is a cultural holocaust of unimaginable proportions!
The entire Filipino nation will be guilty of nonfeasance, to borrow the term used by Senator Richard Gordon in describing the negligent actuations of telcos and government regulators in yesterday's historic hearing of the vanishing load issue. We will be the laughingstock of the world and by that time, we shall thoroughly deserve it.
While Con-Ass threatens to destroy the political fabric of our country, the cultural holocaust at the Monumento signals something far worse — it will finally destroy the spirit of our nation. There are things that money cannot buy and that is the honor and dignity of a free, self-respecting nation. The fact that the Philippines is a states party to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972 only makes our responsibility as a nation even more onerous. We expect the Senate to stand as one and deliver the message that we will not allow this continuing desecration of our honor and dignity as a nation at the Monumento.
This is how the Monumento looks as Chief Justice Reynato Puno delivered his now-immortal "Walang tunay na katwirang magdiwang ng kalayaan" speech on June 12, 2009. That's how beautiful this monument is with the golden rays of the Philippine sun projecting powerfully from the octagonal base — not only as an aesthetic icon but as the virtual embodiment of our existence, honor and dignity as a nation.
Narito po ang Monumento noong 1980s, walang billboards at matatanaw mo kahit nasa malayo ka pa — nagpapasigla sa diwang namamanglaw, pumupukaw sa damdaming makabayan, nagpapataas ng tingin sa atin ng sinumang dayuhan — malayong-malayo sa progresibong putikan ng kawalang-paggalang na kinasadlakan niya ngayon. Ito'y pangitain na hindi mabibili kahit ng trilyon piso mang salapi, isang pangitaing banal na imbes na pagyamanin ay tila baga pilit natin ngayong iwinawaksi:
Letters from our individual Senators and if possible, from the Chief Justice, asking Chairman Ambeth Ocampo and Commissioners of the National Historical Institute, DOTC, LRTA, MMDA and the local government of Caloocan City to explain why they are allowing these things to happen are a giant step in the right direction. A Senate Resolution expressing the same sentiment and a public inquiry into this monstrous disregard of our cultural heritage will be even better.
Ito po'y isang munting pakiusap mula sa isang maliit na tinig na may dalang mensahe na alam kong saloobin rin ng bawat Pilipinong mayroon pang natitira kahit konting pagmamahal sa bayan at paggalang sa dangal ng kanyang lahi. Sana po ay makatanggap ako mula sa inyo kahit kapirasong sulat na nagsasabing napakinggan n'yo ang panawagang ito.
Maraming salamat po and God bless.
Mabuhay ang Pinoy! Papuri sa Panginoon!
ROLANDO G. OCAMPO
185 Heroes del 96, Caloocan City
Tel. No. 3623459
Cellphone: 0908 2168441
P.S.: Ang URL po ng open letter at blog article na ito na mula po sa Philippines Rising (Taga Monumento) ay: http://tagamonumento.blogspot.com/2009/06/hooray-to-senate-for-inquiring-into.html
Ang URL po ng panawagan ko tungkol sa Monumento na pinamagatang "A Call to Defend Filipino Honor at the Monumento, June 9, 2009" na nakapost sa youtube ay: