Press Release
April 27, 2008


Calling it the first Asian victory against colonial aggression, Senator Richard Gordon led ceremonies at the Rizal Park to commemorate the 487th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan and to honor the memory of Lapu-lapu, the first Filipino hero and the first Asian to successfully repel a colonial occupation force last April 27, 2008.

Gordon was joined at the ceremonies by other dignitaries led by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Congresswoman Carissa Coscolluela, Department of Tourism Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab and Director DJ Bagatsing of the Philippine Toursim Authority, Administrator Armand Arreza of the Subi Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Red Cross, which Gordon heads. Also present at the celebration were officers of the armed forces and the national police, Brigadier General Reynaldo Mapagu of the Philippine Army, Rear Admiral Amable Tolentino of the Philippine Navy, Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo of the Philippine Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Joselito Aseniero of the PCGA and NCRPO Police Director Geary Barias of the Philippine National Police.

Also taking part in the celebrations was Consul General Hong Sung Mog of the Republic of Korea and members of the Korea Freedom League, who donated the 40-foot Lapu-Lapu statue at the Rizal Park as a gift bestowed to the Filipino people in recognition of Filipino soldiers who had come to their country's aid and gave their lives during the Korean War.

The Lapu-Lapu statue was erected in 2003 by Gordon who secured a donation from the Korean Freedom League of 18 million pesos. The 40 foot statue was created by renowned sculptor and TOYM Awardee Sajid Imao.

"Lapu-Lapu is personified in our national anthem by the verse "sa manlulupig di ka pasisiil" and makes us proud to be Asia's first to defeat a foreign invader. Lapu-Lapu should be an icon of our men in uniform who embodies the qualities of bravery, strength, honor, integrity and principles." Gordon said.

Governor Garcia, who flew all the way from Cebu, said "we in Cebu have our own festivities in honor of Lapu-Lapu however I recognize the significance of this event being held in the national park. The people of Cebu are grateful to Senator Gordon for his efforts in putting up the Lapu-Lapu monument here in our national park."

"The Cebuanos deeply appreciate that Senator Gordon valiantly, courageously and patriotically fought to put Lapu-lapu in the national park. He has placed history in its proper place and the Cebuanos stand proud with him." Garcia added.

Gordon then Tourism Secretary fought for the construction of the Lapu-lapu statue to honor the Visayan Muslim who was the first to thwart Spanish invaders in the island of Mactan in 1521. Senator Gordon has filed a bill seeking to have April 27 declared a national holiday as Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu or Lapu-Lapu Day.

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