Renaming streets shows lack of historical sense
There is a Senate bill proposing the renaming of Roosevelt Avenue to Fernando Poe Jr. Avenue.
This is not the first time we’re renaming a street. We do this rather often. We renamed Forbes Avenue to Lacson Avenue, Divisoria to Salas Street, Echague to Carlos Palanca, Morayta to Nicanor Reyes—just to name a few. There are about 170 streets in Manila alone that have been renamed after we gained independence from the Americans in 1946. Historian Gregorio Zaide said this is a fruit of “bigoted nationalism.”
And yet up to now, people still use the name Divisoria, Forbes, Echague, and Morayta.
This phenomenon shows both a lack of historical sense and collective memory (when we change the name) and also the presence of both (when we still use the old names).
It would be good to foster in our people greater historical sense and true patriotism (in contrast to nationalism) by preserving the old names of our streets and using the names of people in our history to name new streets. If a street has had the same name for some generations, perhaps it would be wiser not to change the name anymore. As we can see, even if we change the name, the old one is still used by the people.
Other countries seldom change the names of streets, so that some street names are preserved even for centuries. For example, the Via Appia in Rome was built about 300 BC. It still exists, and it still has the same name. The street and the name teach us a lot of history.
Fr. Cecilio L. Magsino, email@example.com