MANILA, Philippines – It’s for the historic Anda Monument’s own protection.
This was the reason given by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) for agreeing to the possible transfer of the monument from its present site in a roundabout in Bonifacio Drive in Manila.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has been criticized by historical conservationists for this plan.
The DPWH has not yet finalized plans of where to move the monument. But according to NHCP Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, the commission’s recommendation in 2012 was to transfer the monument to Maestranza Plaza inside Intramuros, also in Manila.
“We agreed to the transfer to protect the monument because of heavy vehicle flow in the area. If even just one car goes off course, it could damage the monument,” Diokno told Rappler on Tuesday, September 9.
Vehicles going to and fro the Manila Port Area, Roxas Boulevard, Navotas, Malabon, and Intramuros pass through the roundabout where the monument is located. Increased activity in the port and the city’s growing population has led to traffic congestion in the area.
Diokno clarified, however, that the NHCP’s agreement was to a recommendation made by the Intramuros Administration back in 2012.
She hasn’t been approached by the DPWH regarding more recent plans.
The DPWH is planning to remove the Anda Monument within the next two weeks.
The Anda Circle, of which the monument is the centerpiece, will be turned into an intersection with a center island and traffic lights.
The goal is to free up traffic flow especially for trucks going to and from the Port Area.
Maestranza Plaza, meanwhile, “is like a park,” Diokno said. “The monument will be well protected.”
The plaza used to be Intramuros’ port area and saw the height of the Mexico-Manila galleon trade.
It won’t be the first time the Anda Monument would be moved around.
Until the 1960s, it was in its original location along Pasig River near where the Del Pan Bridge is now.
But with the construction of the bridge, the monument was moved to its present location, said Diokno.
She refuted the statement of DPWH-National Capital Region head Reynaldo Tagudando that the monument “has no historical value,” as quoted by GMA News.
Though it does not have a historical marker, the Anda Monument has historical significance since it was constructed in 1871 during the Spanish colonial era.
Its age more than qualifies it for protection as an “important cultural property.” The National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 defines this as structures dating at least 50 years old.
This label protects it against “exportation, modification, or demolition,” reads the law.
The Anda Monument commemorates Simon de Anda, the lieutenant governor-general of the Philippines during the two-year British invasion of Manila. In 1770, he became the governor-general. – Rappler.com