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Senate finds stretch for FPJ

Hananeel Bordey

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Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday disclosed his inclination to rename Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City as Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) Avenue instead of Del Monte Avenue after some groups opposed the passage of the bill.

In a text message to Daily Tribune, Sotto, who is supportive of Senate Bill (SB) 1822, said he discussed his amendment to the measure with Senator Lito Lapid, the main author of the bill, and Senator Manny Pacquiao, the chair of Committee on Public Works.

Under SB 1822, Lapid wanted Del Monte Avenue in Quezon City named after the King of Filipino Movies, noting that FPJ Productions was located along the said avenue.

However, some groups sent their opposition to Lapid’s office, citing the other historical value of the thoroughfare that should retain its name as Del Monte Avenue.

In a letter from Order of Friars Minor, Province of San Pedro Bautista, Philippines, Fr. Cielo Almazan explained that Del Monte Avenue’s name must be preserved as it has “tremendous historical, religious and cultural significance attached” to its name.

“This name is derived from its full name SAN FRANCISCO DEL MONTE, a secluded place founded on 17 February 1590 by Fray Pedro Bautista, a Franciscan missionary,” he noted.

“The place has been referred to as San Francisco del Monte to honor St. Francis. 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,” he added.

Although they acknowledge Poe’s contribution to the movie industry, he asserted that the name has “profound religious significance” as the first Christian community rooted in San Francisco del Monte.

“Therefore, this area — and their historical names — are sacred to the civic and religious history of Quezon City because saints such as San Pedro Bautista and the early Franciscan missionaries who stayed, prayed, reflected and served in San Francisco del Monte,” he said.

Almazan suggested naming other streets such as West Avenue or Roosevelt Avenue to be named after Poe instead of Del Monte Avenue.

In response, Sotto said they can always amend the bill and take into consideration Almazan’s suggestion to rename Roosevelt Avenue as FPJ Avenue, instead of Del Monte Avenue.

“I can easily find a solution. We can always amend the bill to rename Roosevelt Ave instead. That’s where the ancestral home of FPJ was anyway,” Sotto told Daily Tribune.

“But more importantly, I told Sen. Manny Pacquiao because he is the Chairman of the Committee on Public works and therefore will sponsor the bill. He agreed to my amendment,” he added.

The bill, which gained support from 16 senators, is currently pending at the committee level.

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