RURAL UPDATE | First historical street marker for Mandurriao

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BY JOHNNY NOVERA
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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FURTHER to our column last week on Writing History in our Streets (WHS), we are pleased to report now that we will start to put up our first historical street marker in Mandurriao for Quirico Abeto Street. Punong Barangay Arsenio J. Garbanto Sr. has approved to build it in front of his barangay hall at the Western corner of WV Medical Center compound.

Considering the length of Q. Abeto Street that extends up to Barangay Taft, Mandurriao, at the Mandurriao-Jaro Bridge to Jaro District, a reader suggests that we put up another Abeto marker mid-way, say somewhere  at Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park. We will look into this idea once we finish with the first marker and have a good model and estimate of the cost. 

Also, may we inquire from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) if donations to build street markers like this can qualify as a tax-deductible expense? What documents do we submit? We plan in the Committee to look for sponsors especially from the civic and business sector to spread the idea and install more of these historical street markers to many other areas.  

We are taking up as our next project Roman Mapa Street running also eastward from the southern corner of Mandurriao Plaza, passing in front of Mandurriao Elementary School, Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park and to Barangay Tabucan up to the Iloilo Esplanade at the foot of Carpenter Bridge towards Molo district.

We have met with Kapitan Manuel J. Solinap Jr. of Barangay Airport who has jurisdiction over R. Mapa Street. We are happy to report that he liked this street marker idea and readily gave his approval to put up one for R. Mapa Street which runs across his barangay. In our conversation, he gave us a hint of what he knew of Roman Mapa for whom the street was named. He said Mapa was a Catholic priest in the parish of Mandurriao. 

While we promptly endorsed to committee member Analiza M. Padernal the job for her history class at A. Mirasol Memorial School to do the research, we cannot help being curious why a priest was honored with a street named after him in his parish. What good deed had he rendered to the community outside of church service?

When we visited the parish office in Mandurriao last week, we asked to look into their archives and confirmed that there was indeed a Fr. Roman Mapa who served as the second parish priest of the diocese after Fr. Gervacio Gallofin who opened the church in Mandurriao. There were no dates mentioned of the years they served but Mandurriao is an old parish founded back in the early 19th century, so it could be in the 1920s or even before that. 

Other priests who served Mandurriao during the pre-war years were Fathers Pedro Tingson, Pedro Velasco, Nicolas Valencia, Ciriaco Serrano, Mansueto Zabala, and Santiago Castañeda but there were no records either of their specific years of service.   

The first priest in the long list whose terms were in the records started with Fr. Diosdado Parreñas (1934-38); Msgr. Melecio Fegarido (1938-39); Fr. Fernando Buenaflor (1939-40); then Fr. Casiano Ureta (1940-41) or until the war broke out. 

But we think that naming more priests that served in Mandurriao parish is outside the issue. It is about Fr. Roman Mapa that we promised to tell you more in our next column based on the research of our student historians, and why a street was named in his honor.

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