MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City government on Friday, September 13, removed the Ninoy Aquino monument to give way to better traffic flow.
The statue, erected in memory of slain Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr on his 77th birthday in 2009, was located at the corner of Timog Avenue and Quezon Avenue.
City officials had been discussing plans to move the monument, which was reportedly damaged during recent road clearing operations, to another location.
Ares Gutierrez, chief of the QC Public Affairs and Information Services Department, said in an interview that the transfer of the monument was recommended by the QC Task Force for Transport and Traffic Management, in order to open more lanes in the area to aid traffic decongestion.
The removal of the monument would open one to two lanes more, said Gutierrez.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement on Thursday, September 12, that the late senator’s children had already agreed to transfer the statue to a more ideal location.
Belmonte said former president Benigno Aquino III and his sisters Ballsy, Pinky, Kris, and Viel had consented to the transfer because it would benefit motorists.
Apart from the Aquino family, the task force involved in the plan was also supposed to have consulted the National Historical Commission and a technical expert on traffic.
The city government considered possible relocation sites, factoring in variables such as available space, places named after the late senator, and also the preference of the Aquino family.
City officials initially considered the Benigno Aquino Elementary School, but had since narrowed down the possible relocation sites to two options: the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center and the Manila Seedling Bank property owned by Ayala Land, due to the large size of the monument.
Noynoy Aquino preferred the park, while Kris preferred the Ayala property.
The city government has written to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu requesting that the monument be moved to the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, which was opened to the public in 1970, during the Marcos regime, and later renamed in honor of Ninoy Aquino in 1986.
Gutierrez said further studies would be done before the transfer is finalized, along with area preparations, acquisition of the necessary permits, and other technical considerations.
In the meantime, the statue would be temporarily stored at the Quezon City Experience museum. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com