ILOILO City – The new grandstand built along Dela Rama Street, Muelle-Montes, City Proper replacing the demolished Freedom Grandstand on JM Basa Street has been officially named.
Henceforth, it would be called “Iloilo City Freedom Grandstand”, stated Mayor Jerry Treñas in Executive Order No. 29 issued yesterday.
Construction of the grandstand started in late 2018. It was inaugurated on Jan. 11 this year with then mayor Jose Espinosa III temporarily naming it “Iloilo City Dinagyang Grandstand.”
According to Treñas, the old Freedom Grandstand was a memorial to the Iloilo City Freedom Law or Republic Act 1209 that then congressman Rodolfo Ganzon authored in 1955 empowering the people of Iloilo City to elect their own leaders.
Prior to the law’s enactment, officials of Iloilo City were appointed by the President.
The old Freedom Grandstand, built in front of the Custom’s House, was demolished last year to give way to the revival of Sunburst Park, an open space for recreation.
There was a previous proposal to name the new grandstand in honor of Ganzon who also became this city’s mayor and senator. Other suggested names were “Muelle Loney Grandstand” and “Graciano Lopez-Jaena Grandstand”.
Ganzon’s son, the current vice mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, sought to delay the demolition of the old Freedom Grandstand last year, arguing that it had historical significance.
He also pressed that the new grandstand keep the old name and requested that a plaque bearing his father’s name be put on it.
According to then mayor Espinosa, he thought of temporarily calling the new grandstand “Iloilo City Dinagyang Grandstand” to focus the public’s attention to the 2019 Dinagyang Festival.
The highlights of the Dinagyang – the Kasadyahan cultural contest on Jan. 26 and ati-ati tribes competition on Jan. 27 – were staged at the new grandstand.
Espinosa said the new grandstand’s name “should have relevance” and “something that reflects the history of Iloilo City.”
The old Freedom Grandstand was visited by World War II hero US’ General Douglas MacArthur on July 10, 1961 and was also a venue of political rallies, cultural shows and religious gatherings./PN