Duterte backs move to rename Mactan-Cebu airport to Lapu-Lapu airport
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that he supports the proposal of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to rename the Mactan-Cebu International Airport to Lapu-Lapu Airport.
NHCP Chairperson Rene Escalante, in a speech at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City to commemorate the National Heroes' Day, said in close coordination with the local government units and legislators, the NCHP would support renaming Mactan airport into Lapu-Lapu airport.
He said the move aims to popularize and immortalize Lapu-Lapu's name locally and abroad.
Duterte wondered why the Filipinos were giving more importance to Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, whom he described as the "first invader to set foot" in the Philippines.
"It was Lapu-Lapu who fought them. Why is he more honored in this country? There's Lapu-Lapu hotel, then fish called Lapu-Lapu, that's crazy," the President said in an interview at LNMB.
"Why are you going to name (a place to a person) who is not your ancestor?" he added.
In his speech, Duterte also lamented that Lapu-Lapu has even a smaller statue than Magellan.
He also found it funny that in the Philippine history, it was said that Magellan discovered the Philippines.
"It’s funny to me because we were not discovered. We, along with the Indonesians and Malaysians, Brunei and everybody here, we belong to the Malay race and we have had our own civilization thriving before the Dutch invaded Indonesia; the British, Malaysia; and the Philippines, the Spaniards and the Americans," he said.
While it was already a "water under the bridge," the President said he felt it very important the things should be corrected along the way.
Last year, Duterte issued an executive order creating the Order of Lapu-Lapu , a presidential award given to Filipinos who contributed significantly to the advocacy of the government.
Escalante said his office would also propose the creation of a national monument and park for Lapu-Lapu in Cebu and to recommend to the President to declare April 27, 2021 the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan a national non-working holiday.
According to history, the Battle of Mactan took place on April 27, 1521 when Raha Lapu-Lapu, a chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated Spanish sailors under Magellan, who was also killed in the said battle. It was known as the first organized resistance of the Filipinos against foreign invaders. Celerina Monte/DMS