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Solon offers solution to Torre de Manila issue: Turn the Rizal Monument around

The controversial 46-storey Torre de Manila condominium looms in the background from the Rizal Monument at Luneta Park in Manila in this photo taken June 16, 2015. On July 1, Makati Rep. Amado Bagatsing suggested turning the Rizal Monument around to face the city instead of the sea as a solution to the Torre de Manila's "photobombing" of the monument. AFP/Jay Directo
Turn the Rizal Monument around.

This is Manila Rep Amado Bagatsing's proposed solution, not just to the Torre de Manila condominium currently "photobombing" the monument, but also to rectify historical records that brand Jose Rizal a traitor.

At a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development, Bagatsing said that even some historians have questioned why Rizal's statue was made to face the sea, with his back turned to the City of Manila.

Bagatsing said the placement may reinforce the Spaniards' intentions when they planned on shooting Rizal in the back for being a traitor. Rizal insisted on facing his executioners.

"Buti pa yung kalabaw, nakaharap sa siyudad. Bakit si Rzal, nakatalikod?" asked Bagatsing, referring to a carabao statue in Rizal Park.

"To me, Rizal is a national hero. He should not be classified as a traitor," he stressed.

But the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is against the proposal.

"Masama na nga ang tingin natin sa Torre de Manila, ihaharap nyo pa si Rizal sa kanya?" said NCCA legal counsel Trixie Angeles.

Angles also explained that Rizal's statue was made to face the sea as a sign of the highest respect. "Tingnan mo ang real estate values ng properties pag nakaharap sila sa tubig—[riverside], oceanside, seaside properties. Mahal 'yan. Kung kaya't binibigay natin kay Rizal ang pinakamahalagang real estate dito sa buong bansa," she said.

Angeles also pointed out that turning the Rizal Monument around would not solve the problem. "'Yung intensyon ng Rizal Monument ay siya lang ang nagmamay-ari ng landscape. So kung itatalikod ninyo, it does not address the incursion into the space," she said.

Bagatsing said he plans to talk to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines before filing a bill. — BM, GMA News