May 28, 2023

An open letter to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong

It is with reluctance that I write this letter as the issue seemingly pales under the current health problems that confront the city, not only now but over the last 18 months.
However, as this could be seen as one of the very low priorities in the midst of the more pressing pandemic, this matter nevertheless has an encompassing value unfortunately unknown to most but without its significance would have negated the existence of the Baguio that we know today.
Mr. Mayor, I wish to reiterate a common request of two years ago regarding the relocation of the Liberation Marker situated at the outpost of Baguio City Police Office Station 1 along the Quirino Highway (Naguilian Road).
Lately, I have seen the widening of that part of the road where the Liberation Marker stands. Over the many years of neglect the marker had been hidden from full view by commercial signages.
It has been desecrated by garbage bins, rugs, umbrellas, left-over construction materials, and vehicles both private and police service units. It had been my observation that while the widening was going on, temporarily it became a parking zone for motorcycles only to see in the past few days that it has become the inlet road for traffic going down Asin Road.
Whatever the City Engineer’s Office or City Environment Parks and Management Office’s plans are, the Liberation Marker will continue to find its location a few square meters of shameful neglect, when in fact it symbolizes hundreds of lives of Filipino and American soldiers, both of the very few living and of those of the dead. These soldiers who were bombarded by Japanese artillery perched at Mirador Hill, waited for three days before they finally reached this crossroad and eventually liberated Baguio City.
The request has always been simple. To relocate the marker to the corner of Quirino Highway and Asin Road and clear the area of commercial signages and peddlers’ booths to create instead not just an aesthetically prominent memorial but more of a semblance that Baguio has the decency to honor and value its liberation history.
Thank you for your attention and time as I know there continues to be gargantuan challenges in the health sector you have to face that demand your full attention.
It is my fervent hope that in spite of the current health situation in our city, this letter finds you unrelenting in your effort to curb this pandemic to a level that is admirable and a paragon other cities in the country could emulate.
Congratulations to you, the City Health Services Office, the Health Department as well as the other departments and agencies involved in the management of Covid-19 pandemic for a remarkably admirable system you have instituted to keep the virus at bay in our beloved city. — DR. RONALDO A. PARAAN, Baguio City

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