New Mendiola marker up, but Don Chino’s is goneBy Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A marker commemorating the declaration of martial law 40 years ago was unveiled in simple ceremonies held on Friday on the historic Mendiola Street in Manila.
But the mood somehow went sour when participants learned that another marker—one installed years earlier at the monument of activist-publisher Joaquin “Chino” Roces—had been removed either by thieves or pranksters.
A bridge that forms part of the street has been named in honor of the late Manila Times publisher.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) unveiled the “Kalye Mendiola” marker to highlight the area’s role in history as a principal venue of protest during the Marcos regime and up to the succeeding administrations.
“I hope Manila will take care of the marker … because it is a sacred duty,” NHCP Commissioner Ferdinand Llanes said as he turned the marker over to the city government.
The marker serves to remind the young generation of the ills of the Marcos dictatorship and the Filipinos’ struggle to assert civil liberties through mass actions held on Mendiola Street, the NHCP said in a statement.
The street was named in honor of Enrique Mendiola, a lawyer and educator who sat in the first Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines. He died in 1914.
It was Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim who noted that the marker on the Roces monument had gone missing.
“I’m calling on those who took it to please return it,” Lim said in his speech. “We installed that marker in honor of Chino Roces. I will look into this. Maybe the NHCP has a record and we will put it up again.”
“This is a form of disrespect for the heroism of Chino Roces. When The Manila Times was shut down, he was jailed together with (other Marcos critics) Ninoy Aquino and Rene Saguisag,” he recalled.
Also during the program, Max de Mesa of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (Pahra) said the Kalye Mendiola marker signifies “an unfinished journey to a better society.”