PMPI praised the plan of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to erect a new historical marker in Homonhon, an island within the boundaries of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. Homonhon is the site of Magellan’s first landing, on March 16, 1521, in the archipelago that was eventually named the Philippines.
“This is good news. We applaud the NHC for preventing historical forgetfulness by reinstalling a historical marker in Homonhon. As the landing of Magellan is an important event in the introduction of Catholicism in our country, we deem it appropriate that we received this good news while we are waiting for the visit of Pope Francis,” according to Fr. Oliver Castor, project officer on anti-mining campaign.
The decision of the NHCP came as a response to the letter of Billy Abueme, President of Homonhon Environment Rescuers Organization (HERO), in April last year. Abueme requested the recognition of Homonhon as a historical site and reported to the NHCP that the original marker, which he said he saw during his childhood near a tributary river in Bgy. Pagbabangnan, is now nowhere to be found. The HERO president also provided a picture of the said marker in his letter.
“Our elders said that the original marker was one of the casualties of rampant and destructive mining in our beautiful island. I am lucky that I saw the marker before and I’d like the Homonhonanons of today and the future to feel this due recognition of our homeland. Of course, this recognition will also be helpful in our struggle to stop the destruction of our island as we also believe that mining must not be allowed in places of historical significance,” he explained.
“We pray that the NHC will also be our ally in our call to stop mining in Homonhon. It is also our hope that the marker will be erected on or before the anniversary of Magellan’s landing in March,” added Castor.
Below are the full texts of the letters from both HERO and NHCP.
Letter submitted by HERO to NCHP last April 2014
Letter sent by NCHP to Guiuan Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales and to HERO