ILOILO CITY -- The city government is providing PHP5-million fund to complete the center for Ilonggo national hero Graciano Lopez Jaena.
City Mayor Jose Espinosa III announced the commitment of the fund during Tuesday’s celebration of the 162nd birth anniversary of Lopez Jaena, who was the first editor of "La Solidaridad", the newspaper that fought for Philippine representation in Spain.
In a follow-up interview, Espinosa said they are targeting to immediately release the fund during the first quarter of next year to Dr. Graciano Lopez Jaena Foundation, Inc. (DGLJFI).
Initially, the mayor said the foundation has already started the center but financially struggling to complete it.
The center is located at Fajardo Street in Jaro district where Lopez Jaena was born.
“I told them that it would take long for them to complete that if they will only use their contributions,” he said.
The mayor hoped that the center would be finally completed by December 2019 in time for another celebration of the birth anniversary of Lopez Jaena.
Espinosa stressed that “it is always his desire” to give importance to the life of the Ilonggo national hero and showcase his works especially among the young people.
He said the center will feature his life on how he became a national hero.
It will also house some of his writings and other memorabilia, he added.
The mayor further said the seventh floor of the Iloilo City Hall was already named Graciano Lopez Jaena Hall in honor of the Ilonggo hero.
Espinosa said he is looking for the possibility of also naming after Lopez Jaena the new Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, which now nears completion.
Further, he is also planning to issue an executive order to all the public schools in the city to create a program or integrate in their teaching the life of Lopez Jaena.
Meantime, Mia Lopez Cruz, President of the Graciano Lopez Jaena Foundation, welcomed the commitment of the city government to complete the construction of the center.
“We hope that the construction will really be completed this year,” she said.
Hundreds of Ilonggos gathered at the statue of Dr. Graciano Lopez Jaena at Jaro Plaza this city on Tuesday to celebrate his birth anniversary, December 18, 1856.
One of the highlights of the program is the cultural presentation the life of Lopez Jaena by the Graciano Lopez Jaena Little Theater.
The Lopez Jaena Day has been declared a public holiday in the city and province of Iloilo. (PNA)
Photo from Panay News