A simple ceremony by Consul General Zaldy Patron, Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown, and Filipino Airdrie Association (FAA) President Jun Martin was held to mark the 160th birth anniversary of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada, with the groundbreaking of the Rizal Monument that will soon be installed in Airdrie’s Nose Creek Regional Park on 19 June 2021.
The Rizal Monument Project in Airdrie was initiated by the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) and is being implemented in partnership with the Airdrie City Council and FAA. The PCG formed a seven-man Rizal Management Project Team (RMPT) that has been meeting since September 2020 and coordinating with the City of Airdrie for the implementation of the project.
During the ceremony, Consul General Patron gave honor to Dr. Rizal who was born in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines, on 19 June 1861. He recalled that Dr. Rizal was an ophthalmologist, novelist, poet, sculptor, painter, and fencer who was also skilled in many other fields. Dr. Rizal’s extraordinary character included his fluency in 22 languages. His two novels – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo – exposed the tyranny, injustice and corruption suffered by the Filipinos under their Spanish colonizers. These novels later inspired the Philippine Revolution that started in August 1896, which, in turn, led to the proclamation of the Philippine Independence on 12 June 1898.
Consul General Patron thanked the Airdrie City Council, FAA, RMPT, and all the corporate sponsors, Filipino community organizations and individuals that are supporting the Rizal Monument Project. He said that the Rizal Monument, once installed, would be the first in Alberta and Western Canada.
“It is just fitting that the Province of Alberta, which hosts 175,000 Filipinos, the second largest Filipino community in Canada, should have its own Rizal Monument that will be a source of pride for all Filipinos in the province. The Rizal Monument is also the PCG’s humble way of promoting the Philippine heritage in the province and in Canada,” Consul General Patron added.
Mayor Brown referred to the Rizal Monument as an amazing way of recognizing Dr. Rizal and the Filipino community in Airdrie, which would also highlight the city’s diversity and inclusivity. Mr. Martin, on the other hand, said that the FAA was honored to be a part of the historic Rizal Monument Project.
The three-foot Rizal bust that will form part of the ten-foot monument in Airdrie that is now being sculpted in the Philippines by renowned Filipino sculptor Toym Imao. The monument is expected to be completed in October 2021.
Consul General Patron also took the opportunity to promote the Philippines to the Airdrie City officials and local media by providing them with Fiesta Filipinas kits and boxes of Filipino bread ensaymada.
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