Religious superiors oppose plan to rename QC’s Del Monte Avenue after FPJ

Religious superiors oppose plan to rename QC’s Del Monte Avenue after FPJ

Basilica Minore de Santuario de San Pedro Bautista in Quezon City. COURTESY OF BMSSPB/EARL EDZEL TORIO

By CBCP News

October 20, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The country’s Catholic missionaries are opposing a proposal to rename a street named after a saint to honor a movie actor.

In Senate Bill No. 1822, Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid, also a movie actor, seeks to rename San Francisco Del Monte Avenue in Quezon City to Fernando Poe Jr. Avenue.

He said the measure aims to honor the late “King of Filipino Movies”, whose production company is located in Del Monte Avenue.

The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines warned the plan will “totally obliterate” the significance of one of the city’s very first settlements established in 1590.

While they acknowledged the national artist’s achievements and legacy, the religious superiors said honoring him should not at the expense of the area’s historical significance.

“Renaming Del Monte Avenue, will negate the historical, cultural, religious and social importance of the first settlement Quezon City, the San Francisco del Monte,” they said.

St. Pedro Bautista, a Franciscan missionary and a known theologian, established the town settlement of San Francisco Del Monte, a place where he stayed for 10 years before he was sent and martyred in Japan.

The road is also where the Franciscan-run Santuario de San Pedro Bautista, which is now a minor basilica and the oldest church in Quezon City, is located.

In 1639, the church was used as a camp by the Chinese rebels during the Limahong-led uprising.

In 1895, the Franciscan priests abandoned the church, when the Filipino revolutionary forces occupied the place of worship during the “Cry of Balintawak”.

The church was also occupied by the American soldiers during the Philippine-American War in 1898.

“To rename Del Monte Avenue is to start the process of denying 400 years of history that is San Francisco Del Monte, from which Del Monte Avenue is derived,” the AMRSP said.

“We appeal to our esteemed senators and government officials to acknowledge the rich cultural, social, and religious heritage of San Francisco Del Monte and retain the name Del Monte Avenue,” it added.

The Franciscan missionaries in the Philippines have earlier called on legislators to retain the road’s original name.

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