Editorial: Changing names

·2 min read

Several streets in Cebu are named after historical figures—revolutionaries and patriots, politicians and businessmen, clergymen and spiritual leaders, journalists and literary writers. Naming a street after a person who has made contributions for the good of the society is a way of honoring that person.

Remarkable people could get a street named after them through legislation—and it only happens after their death. Some of Cebu’s prominent people have streets named after them: Vicente Sotto, Vicente Rama and Vicente Ranudo; Sergio Osmeña Sr. and Sergio Osmeña Jr.; Julio Cardinal Rosales and Juan Bautista Gorordo; Dionisio Jakosalem and Edgar Cokaliong.

Naming streets after historical figures is not a monopoly of Cebu. It’s also commonplace in other parts of the country. Also there are airports, seaports, public parks and buildings named after prominent personalities.

An airport in Pasay City, Metro Manila is named, specifically renamed, after Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Sr., one of the leading political figures who fought the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the father of presidential candidate Ferdinand Jr. On Aug. 21, 1983, Aquino was assassinated on the tarmac of Manila International Airport (the old name of Ninoy Aquino International Airport). His death galvanized the democracy-loving Filipinos to free themselves from the grip of the vicious authoritarian regime, which was eventually booted out by a peaceful revolution in 1986.

Perhaps, if Ninoy had not been killed after his return to the country, the dictatorship could have lasted longer. His death added fuel to the fire. A martyr for democracy was Ninoy.

Now comes a party-list, named Duterte Youth, that has filed a bill to revert NAIA to its old name.

“The name of the international gateway of the country should have not been politicized in the first place,” Duterte Youth Rep. Ducielle Cardema was quoted as saying, explaining the party-list’s move.

As a member of Congress, the party-list has the right to file any bill that it deems worthy to become a law. However, filing such a bill is a petty move.

If one follows Cardema’s line of reasoning, one could ask: Are the streets and other public infrastructure bearing the names of deceased politicians and historical figures also “politicized”? If that’s the case, then the names of these infrastructure must be changed too.

In Cebu, there are streets bearing the Duterte family name. In Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, there is Ramon Gonzales Duterte St.

Ramon is the brother of Vicente Duterte, the father of President Rodrigo Duterte. Ramon became Cebu City mayor when Sergio Osmeña Jr. resigned to run for Congress in 1957.

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