The Quezon City government’s plan to redevelop the San Francisco del Monte District into a place of interest will get going once the renaming of its major thoroughfare, Roosevelt Avenue, into Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) Avenue, is enacted.
The Senate has approved the bill that pays tribute to the late actor and one-time presidential aspirant with 22 “yes” votes.
Senator Grace Poe, the actor’s daughter, abstained during Monday’s voting to avoid conflict of interest.
“We also consider it a big honor to have one of our city’s main arteries named after FPJ. After all, Quezon City is the city of stars and it is but fitting to name one of our major thoroughfares after the biggest star of them all,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement on Tuesday.
The QC government on Tuesday lauded the Senate for the measure.
“We laud the Senate, under the leadership of Senate President Vicente Tito Sotto III, for passing this measure that will give recognition to the immense contribution of FPJ not only to our movie industry but to Filipino culture in general,” Belmonte added.
The city government is looking to redevelop Frisco as a place of interest and a tourist destination of Quezon City, she noted.
The statement added that once redevelopment projects begin, it will support the 1 million jobs program of the National Employment Recovery Strategy, which is co-chaired by Labor, Trade and Industry, and Tourism departments.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III then introduced an amendment to the measure, pushing to rename Roosevelt Avenue after Poe because this is where FPJ’s ancestral home is located.
The original House and Senate bills filed last year sought to rename Del Monte Avenue (traversing Barangays Nayong Kanluran, Paltok, Paraiso, Del Monte, Damayan, Masambong, Talayan, Manresa, Siena, St. Peter, San Jose, and Amoranto).
Residents and priests, however, opposed it because of the street’s historical and religious significance.
In a letter in October 2020 addressed to bill author Senator Lito Lapid, Fr. Cielo Almazan said Del Monte was added to its name because it sits on a hilly area and to distinguish it from San Francisco de Manila, then the Franciscan Church in Intramuros.
“Today, the Minor Basilica of San Pedro Bautista stands in this place founded and made holy by this patron saint who actually lived and served in this place popularly known as San Francisco Del Monte,” read the letter of Almazan, head of Filipino Franciscans.
The 2.9-kilometer road starts from Quezon Avenue in Barangay Santa Cruz and ends at the intersection of EDSA.
Poe passed away on Dec. 14, 2004 at age 65 due to thrombosis with multiple organ failure after suffering from a stroke and slipping into a coma. This was shortly after he lost the 2004 presidential election to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In his 46-year-career as an actor, he starred in around 300 films, mostly action movies. He was declared a National Artist two years after his death.