By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House committee on basic education and culture has approved a bill declaring San Roque Parish in Caloocan City as a national landmark and shrine for history, freedom and independence.
The panel, chaired by Cebu Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano VI passed House Bill 2764, authored by Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice.
“This is consistent with the constitutional mandate to preserve, promote and popularize the nation’s historical heritage, ” Erice said.
Constructed in 1765 A. D., the San Roque Parish witnessed the nation’s struggle to attain its freedom as it served as one of staging camps in 1899 by Gen. Antonio Luna in fighting the American soldiers during the Filipino-American war, the Liberal Party lawmaker said.
HB 2764 declares San Roque Parish as a national landmark and shrine for history, freedom and independence to underscore the immense contribution of Christian faith to the enrichment and vibrancy of the modern civilization.
The bill tasks the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to exercise supervision of the proposed national landmark and shrine.
The funding of the proposed Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“In order to afford the people an opportunity to participate in financing the preservation, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the shrine, the NHCP is authorized to organize and undertake a national fund campaign for the purpose of raising funds from private sources,” Erice said.
When the American forces, led by Gen. Arthur McArthur occupied Caloocan, the San Roque Parish was converted into a regiment camp with Col. Frederick Funston of the 20th Kansas Regiment as its commander.
After the war, the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus led by Fr. Victor Raymundo started the reconstruction and renovation of the San Roque Parish which was continued by the succeeding priests until 1965.
“The piecemeal repair, however, proved to be insufficient to prevent the deterioriation and inevitable collapse of the parish had it not been for the efforts of the constituents of the city of Caloocan, and the strong determination and conviction of the parochial priest—Msgr Boanerges Lechuga to rebuild it,” Erice said.
“It is only fitting that the San Roque Parish be acknowledged as a national landmark and shrine for history, freedom and independence,” he said.