Erecion de Pueblo monument rises in Plaza Rizal

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 7 May) – A historical monument will rise in the city to mark the creation of Malaybalay as a village under Spain in 1877.

The monument’s official name is Erecion de Pueblo or the Creation of the Village.

The P6-million monument features nine human figures, one on horseback. The figures will be carved out of iber glass, which according to Vicente Baretto, project consultant, “is stronger and better than cement.”

The figures are characters in the June 1, 1877 pact made between the representatives of the Spanish colonial government and the leaders of the villages in and around Malaybalay.

Based on the document, “The Creation of the Municipality of Malaybalay”, which was translated from Spanish by Ret. Judge Abundio Arietta, the pact was about the establishment of the town “under the aegis of the Spanish Crown submitting themselves to the sovereignty of the Nation (Spain); accepting the protection of its Laws and at the same time recognizing the duties imposed by the, in exchange for the protection they would receive from the government in times of need and distress…”

In the Malaybalay City profile, the inhabitants of the city were said to be from Northern Mindanao “but were driven inward by marauding pirates and the colonizing Spaniards.”

In 1850, the entire village of what is now known as Kalasungay was burned during the battle of the local villagers against the Spaniards. It was written that “all male adults were killed and the women and children were taken hostage”. This was the last recorded resistance by the natives against the Spaniards.

In 1877, Datu Mampaalong who led the settlement near the Sacub River (what is now the Rizal Park) helped convince the other 30 datus to accept Spanish dominion and Christianity. On that day, Malaybalay and its vicinity became a pueblo (town) with the name “Oroquita del Interior” with a territory of what is now the entire Bukidnon.

The persons who played an important role on that day were the ones carved in the nine-figure monument: Don Jose Pares y Gallego, military-political governor of the second district of Mindanao; Fr. Mateo Bernard de San Miguel, of the Agustinian order and the Parish priest of the said area; Don Felipe Martinez, who functioned as deputy governor; Don Abelardo dela Cuesta y Cardenal, secretary of the Spanish government; and the leaders of the settlement Datu Mampaalong, Sugola, Mindaguin, Apang and Bansag.

Baretto said the project was approved 12 years ago during the time of former Mayor Nicholas Jurolan. The project was constructed since October 2009 during the time of Mayor Dr. Florencio Flores, but the construction was delayed due to the conflict over the site.

Baretto said that the monument was supposed to be built on the lot near the Freedom Park but because the site was owned by Malaybalay City Central School (MCCS), the city government decided to place the project inside Plaza Rizal where the monument of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, also stands.

The project was started by the Jorviv’s Construction with Engr. George Lagumbay as contractor from October- December 26 and was continued since March 4. The project was supposed to be completed by the last week of March, but foreman Roger Condahan said that it was moved to the last week of June due to unavailability of some building materials.

The monument costs P6 million (P2 million for the figures and P4 million for the surrounding structure).

Critics dub the structure as “monument of colonialism” and “monument of submission”.

Baretto said the monument should not be called that way “because the pact is a mutual treaty which signifies the pueblo in the making”.

“And besides, the monument is also a recognition of our local heroes in Bukidnon who are only remembered through the streets named after them,” he added.

Baretto said that the monument is part of the Park Development Site which includes a public toilet “fit for both local and foreign tourists.”

As for the statue of Rizal which stands in the middle of the plaza, Baretto said it might be transferred to another area giving the possibility of the change of the name Plaza Rizal. (April Rose Torion / MindaNews)