Atienza to National Museum: Return Botong Francisco mural to Manila gov’t
MANILA, Philippines – The famous Filipino Struggles through History mural of renowned muralist and national artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco should be returned to the City of Manila, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said.
According to Atienza, the National Museum, which has the original masterpiece of the Botong mural, should place it back to the Bulwagang Antonio J. Villegas of the city hall.
“We have traced the whereabouts of the Botong masterpiece, and it is in the hands of the National Museum, where it has been installed after restoration,” he said on Tuesday.
“We now ask the National Museum to immediately return this national treasure to its rightful place in the Bulwagang Antonio J. Villegas of the Manila City Hall,” he added.
Atienza, a former mayor of the city, said that the mural rightly belongs to the city of Manila as it was commissioned by former Mayor Villegas “to inspire Manileños and immortalize Manila’s important role in the country’s history.”
As of now, a tarpaulin copy of the original mural was installed in place of the mural.
“Huwag ninyong angkinin ang hindi sa inyo. Nobility of intention does not justify an illegal act […] The tarp copycat that was installed in place of the original is insulting to Manileños and we cannot allow this to continue,” he stressed.
Francisco is one of the country’s most important painters, credited as one of the artists who moved out of the Mabini art style of painting, which romanticizes daily Filipino activities. He is also known for discovering the Angono Petroglyphs, the oldest discovered artwork in the Philippines.
Atienza thanked incumbent Manila Mayor Isko Moreno for his efforts in acquiring back the painting. Atienza vowed to push for a congressional inquiry on the issue.
“We thank Mayor Isko Moreno and appreciate his all-out support for our efforts to recover Manila’s priceless mural,” he noted.
“Mayor Isko and I are both fully committed to pursue the intentions of the resolution we have filed calling for a congressional inquiry into this matter,” he added. /jpv
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