Sunday, January 17, 2010
In my post last January 10, we talked about that useless and moronic waiting shed at the approach of Pandurucan Bridge in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and we tried to parallel it with political campaign ethics. To expand the discussion, we would look now into another project initiated by the San Jose Centennial Commission chaired by no less than the mayor himself and he is seeking his last term in office this year. This is the Mindoro Landing monument or statue, again erected in Brgy. San Roque. The aim of the project which is in line with our town’s 100th founding anniversary this year, is for us,- citizens, to remember said historic event and to pay tribute to the memory of our local heroes who fought during World War II. Noble isn’t it? But let us not forget, our main man, as I have said, is one of the candidates for the coming polls. I cannot help but remember a line written by certain Emil Guillermo in his post entitled “Of Monuments and Memories” for the Inqurer.net which says: “Memorializing your critics neutralizes them.” Indeed, letting people collectively travel down the memory lane is a very effective way of persuading them. With or without light.
While I have nothing against the renovation of the statue or monument that became part of our lives, what interests me most is how such centenary project would go given in a changing San Jose political landscape after May 2010. How they would use their political authority on how our public spaces are used to remember the past, such as the Second Landing Mark near Aroma Beach? According to John Coski, “A monument always testifies to power — to who was in power at the time.” And let me add,”… or to the man who occupies power that initiated its erection!”
I am excited to see how our local legislators debate on how to utilize our finite public space in commemorating and remembering the past. My biggest concern is how could we assure that our historical sites which are religiously being visited, cherished and propagated by our dedicated and tireless local historians be treasured forever. Remember, none of them are eyeing for any political position this coming local election? How can we assure that all of their achievements and endeavors would not be wasted away? Later, I am going to propose something different for our electorates.
My only concern is my belief that these sites need to be properly preserved protected and discover other places with interesting historic memory and public history. In other words, I understand that many of our people are passionate about these kind of projects. We need a bunch of politicians or local government leaders with the same passion when it comes to our local history. That is only a starting point, then it is important for our upcoming legislators to initiate another public discussion in an open and honest way how to find other “hidden” historical places and how the existing sites like the Pre-Hispanic structures in Mangarin and the remnants of the Philippine Milling site in Central.
In the coming campaign period, why don’t we include this concern on local history and raise fundamental questions to our candidates and see if they included them in their platform of government. Aside from other social issues, this will guide us if we are going to vote for a particular candidate or not. Or might as well elect non-traditional but principled candidates living in historically rich village like Central.
Now, tell me, isn’t history a potent political tool for participatory governance?...
(Photo from San Jose Occidental Mindoro Facebook account)