The statue of Marcelo H. del Pilar was unceremoniously removed by the Manila city govenment from its location at the Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila, where it had stood since 2009.
The seven-foot bronze statue of the Filipino propagandist-journalist, also known as Plaridel, was transferred to the corner of M. H. del Pilar St. and Quirino Avenue without prior knowledge or consent of Samahang Plaridel, the association of veteran journalists and communicators, which commissioned Julie Lluch in 2005 to sculpt the bigger-than-life image of the association’s patron.
The board of directors and members of Samahang Plaridel are up in arms at the travesty of Plaridel’s honor as father of Philippine journalism, according to Samahang Plaridel president Rolando Estabillo.
“Isa itong pambabastos sa ating bayani,” said Estabillo.
The Manila city government, through a council resolution, caused the transfer in January 2016 without informing Samahang Plaridel.
A huge fountain has replaced the statue at Remedios Circle which is a stone’s throw away from Plaridel’s ancestral home.
The P1.3-million statue was originally erected in 2005 at the Paraiso ng Batang Maynila, a children’s park in front of Manila Zoo, that was eventually renamed Plaza Plaridel.
Former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, a staunch supporter of Samahang Plaridel, caused the transfer of the statue in 2009 to Remedios Circle, where it was placed on top of a six-foot pedestal.
In 2004, a fund-raising campaign was launched to cover the cost of sculpting the statue, with much help from another Manila mayor, Lito Atienza.
Samahang Plaridel pays tribute to Plaridel annually during the Filipino hero’s birth and death anniversaries.
The association’s incorporators include Max Soliven, Adrian Cristobal, Neal H. Cruz, Rolando Estabillo, Rod Reyes, Ben Rodriguez, Julius Fortuna, Diosdado Beltran, Alex Liu, Cris Maralit, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, Lilia Andolong, Isagani Yambot, Jun Icban and Jullie Yap Daza.
The current officers are Rod Reyes, Jullie Yap Daza, Rolando Estabillo, Jimmy Gil, Twinkle Valdez, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, Jake Makasaet, Marichu Villanueva, Jun Icban, Dick Pascual, Roy Acosta, Ernesto Tolentino, Lito Gagni, Ariel Ayala and Max Edralin.