Zambo netizens indignant over defacing of Fort Pilar PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 October 2014 11:54

Zamboangueño netizens. particularly those on Facebook, are indignant on what is described as “crime against the heritage of Zamboanga” the so-called “improvement” project at the Fort Pilar National Museum.

The angry Zamboangueños led by Councilor Vincent Paul “VP” Elago lamented that instead of preserving the old and original state of Fort Pilar, people from Manila involved in the “improvement” project have destroyed the fort ruins.

Commenting on Elago’s post regarding the defacing of the old fort which is sentimental to both old and new generations in Zamboanga, the facebook habitues called on city officials to do what is necessary to stop the destruction.

Some are urging local folks to stage protest action and put up a barricade at the Fort Pilar to forcibly stop the project.

“It is only recently that we realized the kind of ‘improvement’ the National Museum has been doing inside our Fort Pilar which is recognized as the oldest landmark of Zamboanga City. Fort Pilar was constructed in 1635 by the Jesuits. It is the most historically significant structure that we Zamboanguenos are very proud of,” Elago posted.

He said sometime in 2012, the National Government announced that it has budget for the improvement of the    Fort.    Given the fact that they are the key agency with the expertise in the field of preservation of Heritage, Culture and History, I have a feeling that those who knew about it had confidence in this mentioned agency. But what have they done,? asked Elago, who is the chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Culture and Arts.

“They have destroyed the ruins in their goal of “improving”. The south and east bricked-walls have been plastered with cement to make the surface smooth just like any new building today. Gone are the Spanish-looking walls’ that made the inner fort look as authentic as it looks outside. On the same walls, they constructed something that does not look old but an ugly edifice that looks new. I had goosebumps just seeing it!,” Elago lambasted.

He urged Zamboangueños to “storm the Internet with our objection to further destruction of the inner walls of Fort Pilar.”

Elago urged officials to write Jeremy M. Barns, executive director of the National Museum to tell him to stop the destruction.

“They never consulted us about their project. They were on and vandalized our significant past. We must not waste time! We should act now against this crime against the heritage of Zamboanga!” he said.

Many other Zamboangueños from here, other places in the country and abroad joined Elago’s call to stop the project at Fort Pilar.

“Councilor Elago, you must do something about it if even if you will earn the ire of anybody up are duty-bound to save that fort because we from ZDA (Zamboanga del Antes) didn’t waste our time wanting to preserve not only the dialect/language in Zamboanga,” commented Alfred Wong.on Elago’s post.

“VP ese plaster ase taplak na di ila maga cara!! said Elvira Stokes from abroad.

Said Roland Ramos,” Barricade it... and send out of the city all the workers working inside the fort. call persona non-grata de curator for unable to update and brief the local officials. they should be sensitive enough with cultures. Zamboanga wake up... look what the national government is doing to us. insensible! irresponsible!”

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“Iwonder what the mayor has to say about this,” added Edred Jascha Didier

Zell Asis:” Who at City Hall approve of the “modernize design?” Entering the museum and looking at the old exterior walls alone, you can already feel the rich history of the city. I’m so disgusted!”

Gretchen Schuck De Leon: Our history, culture and the glorious past, now gone! Bien umal gayod. We should do something to restore it back n stop this foolishness!”

Connie Ledesma: “Makes me sad to see these. Make them stop doing this! Historical sites should be preserved not modernized.”

Chito Lopez:  Now is the time to stand up against these bureaucrats. Stand up Zamboanguenos and strike. Form a human barricade to stop this onslaught of our heritage. Call the national media for help. “

National Museum director Barns had said the Zamboanga museum is one of the top three museum projects outside of Metro Manila that will be rehabilitated.

The two others are the museums in the cities of Butuan and Vigan.

“But even among Vigan and Butuan, the most impressive and most historic is undoubtedly Fort Pilar,” Barns said, adding the National Museum has mobilized a budget of at least P10 million to start the improvement of the structure and exhibits.

Barns said more funds are expected to be utilized for the project, which will be undertaken in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, in one of his visits to Zamboanga City, has agreed to pool resources together with the National Museum for the improvement of the local museum at Fort Pilar.

“We have given our full budget this year, which is the first time in many years to have achieved that and we will be able to create very beautiful exhibits in various parts of the country trying as much as possible to be very relevant to the places where the museums are,” Rosario said.