As refurbished Plaza Pershing reopens: NHCP lauds Zambo for upkeep efforts PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 December 2011 14:58

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has highly commended the efforts of the administration of Mayor Celso Lobregat for its efforts to rehabilitate by way of conserving and preserving Plaza Pershing, a historical landmark that is renowned all over.

“Let me congratulate Mayor Lobregat and his administration for coming up with this project of rehabilitating by way of conserving, preserving Plaza Pershing”, NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy, who was the guest of honor during the unveiling ceremony of the renovated Plaza Pershing Monday night said.

He said Plaza Pershing’s rehabilitation has enhanced the historical landmark. While the modern multi-patterned fountain has been established, the gazebo and the other old structures have been maintained without destroying the historicity of the landmark.

The Plaza Pershing will remind people of the past and what Gen. Black Jack Pershing, from whom the park is named after, has done for Mindanao, Zamboanga and the people in the area. “We are enjoying what we have right now because of the sacrifices and efforts of our heroes including Gen. Pershing”.

Mayor Celso Lobregat said the Plaza Pershing rehabilitation project was a product of many months of preparation, meetings, consultations and discussions. Officials from the National Historical Institute (NHI) were also asked to look at the rehabilitation efforts that time.

The rehabilitation project cost the city over P7 million while the fountain, which was unveiled October 11 with Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez as guest of honor, cost a little over P2 million. The renovation and site development of Plaza Pershing includes pavers, walkway, fences, lights, drainage including the reconstruction/improvement of the stage and the construction of additional hanging gardens.

“Just like what Mr. Badoy said, we have conserved it but enhanced it, for future generations to come”, the mayor emphasized.

Prior to its rehabilitation, Plaza Pershing is submerged in water during rainy season, the lack of roofing for the stage discouraged organizers to hold programs and activities in the area and the fountain (which was no longer the original fountain that was constructed during the American regime) lacked good drainage system.
Mayor Lobregat said the Plaza Pershing will be manned by personnel from the General Services Office and the City Administrator’s Office.

Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles officiated the blessing rite that was preceded by the ribbon cutting ceremony led by the mayor and the NHCP official. Other officials who joined in the ceremony were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Councilors Myra Paz Abubakar, Rudy Lim, Luis Biel, Nonong Guingona, Reynerio Candido, Vincent Paul Elago, Eddie Saavedra and Percival Ramos, Department of Tourism 9 Regional Director Maryjune Bugante, military and police officials, barangay officials, members of the city’s culture and arts council and representatives from the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines.

History shows that the Plaza Pershing was built during the Spanish era and was originally called Paseo de Don Juan de Salcedo. It was used primarily for ayuntamientos or public meetings and other gatherings and was also the most preferred site where Spanish Generals brought their ladies for an afternoon or morning stroll.

At the turn of the 19th Century, during the American regime, the locals renamed the place as Plaza Pershing in honor of the 4th American Governor General John “Balck Jack” Pershing.

Since then, Plaza Pershing served as a choice venue for many affairs including some activities of the Hermosa Festival and the forth coming Pascua na Zamboanga. It will be the venue for the opening of the Pascua na Zamboanga 2011 tomorrow, Dec. 2. — City Hall PIO