MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, January 13, signed the law renaming Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City after the late actor and National Artist for Film Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ).
In September 2021, the Senate approved on third and final reading the bill with 22 affirmative votes, 0 negative, and one abstention. A few weeks later, the House of Representatives passed its version of the measure.
The bill initially sought to rename Del Monte Avenue, also located in Quezon City’s 1st District, after FPJ. However, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, a friend of the Poe family, introduced an amendment to the measure and proposed to rename Roosevelt Avenue instead.
Senator Grace Poe, the actor’s daughter, said FPJ’s ancestral home, where he spent most of his younger years, is located on Roosevelt Avenue.
The Department of Public Works and Highways will issue the necessary rules and circulars to implement the provisions of Republic Act No. 11608.
In a statement, Senator Grace Poe, daughter of the actor, said renaming the street would give people the chance to remember the legacy of her father.
“My family and I are grateful and humbled by this legislation. FPJ Avenue gives my father’s works and legacy a sense of place in our nation’s history,” Poe said.
The actor’s wife, actress Susan Roces, said in a separate statement: “Maraming salamat sa inyong pagkilala at pagpapahalaga sa aking kabiyak sa pagpapangalan sa kanya ng FPJ Avenue. Maging inspirasyon sana ang kababaang-loob, malasakit sa kapwa, at pagmamahal sa sining ni FPJ sa bawat daraan sa abenidang ito.”
(Thank you very much for the recognition and importance that you have given my spouse by naming FPJ Avenue. May FPJ’s humility, concern for others, and love for the arts be an inspiration to everyone who will pass through this avenue.)
Fernando Poe Jr., dubbed as King of Philippine Movies, was named a national artist in 2006 – two years after his death. In his more than 40 years in the film and television industry, he starred in over 300 movies. In 2004, he ran for president but lost to incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, although that election was marred by allegations of massive cheating.
Under the National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ guidelines on the naming and renaming of streets and other places, a street, plaza, or any other public place can be named or renamed to “honor a person or family who contributed to the welfare of the Filipino people.”
In his column in the Inquirer in 2020, historian Ambeth Ocampo said the renaming of San Francisco del Monte Avenue (before Sotto proposed the amendment to change Roosevelt Avenue instead) was a “sad proof that we have little or no respect for street names that are mute reminders of history.” – Rappler.com