By Francis Allan L. Angelo

Leonardo da Vinci drew and painted Mona Lisa. It reflected him, his time, and his community.

If the Mona Lisa is burned to ashes and someone else creates an exact replica, it’s not the same; it’s just a reproduction; an illusion of the original; a fakery.

It’s the same thing with historical buildings like the newly-demolished art deco façade of Iloilo Central Market, which is publicly owned. The market, which is being “rehabilitated” by SM Prime Holdings, has become an integral part of Ilonggo history and life since its construction in the 1900s, way older than SM which first made business in Iloilo City in 1979.

The value here is not just aesthetics but also the history of the place, the story of its people. Centuries-old cathedrals and other historical buildings are still standing because of engineering solutions like retrofitting, and we don’t even raise hell over safety.

If that is the narrative of City Hall, then Mayor Jerry Treñas must order owners of decades-old buildings at Calle Real area that showed signs of structural instability to demolish their properties for the sake public safety. I can’t dish out the order because I am not the mayor, nor do I plan to be so in this lifetime or the next.

Why can’t City Hall compel SM Prime to explore and even resort to retrofitting and adaptive reuse? Even the Office of Building Official said retrofitting is possible. Why demolish the Central Market façade then? Maybe because it’s cheaper to destroy than maintain?

These are the questions that sycophants and trolls should be asking before going on Operation #RiceRiceIloilo.

The Central Market is public property, not just one clan’s holdings, thus any action by the local government on such property must be genuinely transparent.

But the deliberations and decision leading to the demolition of the façade was kept in the dark. Transparency was just an afterthought because of public reaction.

It was only brought into open when cultural advocates and workers like Berniemack Arellano (a genuine historian who teaches at UP, and does not just collect or aggregate bits and pieces) asked this nebulous Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council, which is headed by Dr. Kristin Treñas (mom of former city councilor Jay Treñas who is a nephew of Mayor Jerry Treñas), for an explanation for the unfortunate destruction of the Central Market façade.

Trolls will certainly try to dig gold through this corner. Sorry, but we’re not biting the bait, dunce.


Welcome to DG, Atty. James

Daily Guardian is marking its 23rd year this month and we have more reason to celebrate with the inclusion of Atty. James Jimenez, who holds the distinction of having been the longest continuously serving spokesperson of any Philippine government institution.

Atty. James officially spoke for the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from 2007 until 2022 and In that capacity, he has chosen to do more than just deliver COMELEC announcements. Using a variety of communications platforms – including radio and social media – he actively articulated the COMELEC’s positions on numerous matters, as well as advocating other issues that affected the public’s right of suffrage and democracy in general.

He is an aggressive believer in the transformative power of transparency in government service and has devoted his tenure at the COMELEC to opening up windows for the public to see into the institution’s decision-making processes, operations, and culture.

In furtherance of this vocation, he spearheaded the COMELEC’s continued engagement with various social media, very early on establishing the COMELEC as one of the first national government entities with a significant and dynamic social media presence.

Outside of COMELEC, James Jimenez is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Manila South, Rotary International District 3810. He was a District Trainer, and was designated as the spokesperson of Dr. Joyce Ambray, the past District Governor of Rotary International District 3810. He is also the founding Chairman of the Society of Past Presidents of Rotary Club – a trailblazing association of former Rotarian presidents, drawing membership from various Rotary Districts.

James Jimenez is also the founder of Feed/Read/Lead – an initiative that seeks to provide nourishment and educational.

Also, Atty. James has links to Iloilo since his father, the late Dean Arturo “Art” Jimenez, taught economics at the Western Institute of Technology in Lapaz, Iloilo City and was also one of the more prolific and insightful columnists of Daily Guardian.

Atty. Jimenez’s views and contributions to Daily Guardian’s op-ed section is very timely as we approach another election cycle in 2025.