Gov. Arthur Yap is creating the highest order of honor that Bohol can give for culture and art excellence in memory of the only Boholano president, Carlos P. Garcia, also hailed as the “Prince of the Visayan Poets.”
The honor will be known as the “Order of Carlos P. Garcia (CPG),” the governor announced in his tribute commemorating the late president’s 123rd birth anniversary on Monday, November 4.
Yap said considering his poetic and literary brilliance, Garcia’s advancement of the Filipino culture has remained to be his most enduring legacies.
He will enroll in the Philippine government the Garcia order as Bohol’s highest award to not just worthy Boholanos but other Filipinos as well “because Garcia does not only belong to Bohol.”
The governor said Bohol’s “most illustrious son” is a national belonging, Garcia being the eighth Philippine president.
There will be seven categories for the annual Order of CPG in the fields of architecture, visual art, music, dance, drama, literature and film.
The award will be “accompanied by a decoration specially minted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and a financial grant,” Yap said at the commemoration at the CPG Park fronting the new Bohol capitol.
Niece Mary Garcia-Valmoria and Marilou Valmoria-Fudalan attended the event on behalf of the Garcia family.
The Bohol Arts and Cultural Heritage Council will organize the honoring program in preparation this early for the first conferment of the Order of CPG next year.
REMEMBERED IN CONGRESS
In Congress, First District Rep. Edgar Chatto cited Garcia administration’s cultural revival following the country’s conquest and colonization by the foreign powers.
“It gave birth to the then ‘Republic Cultural Award’ which was given to excellent Filipino artists, scientists, historians and writers,” the congressman said.
Chatto delivered a privilege, “Remembering Carlos P. Garcia,” at the House of Representatives right on the day Bohol marked the 123rd CPG birth anniversary.
Both Yap and Chatto also cited such hallmarks of Garcia’s governance as the “Filipino First” policy, austerity program that had strengthened government fiscal management from the deterioration of finances, and cutting the foreign military bases lease from 99 years to 25 years.
It was also during Garcia’s time that the Philippine government successfully negotiated with the US for the return of documents seized by the American troops during the Philippine-American War.
“The documents were called the Philippine Insurgent Records (PIR), the magnetic lode of so many researchers who want to know more about our nation’s historical past,” Chatto said.
Garcia’s national cultural heritage award in the 1960s was the forerunner of today’s National Artist Award, which has been instituted since Marcos’ time in 1971.
One of Yap’s thrusts is giving culture and the arts a prime importance in advancing Bohol tourism.
In his CPG message, the governor cited numerous Boholano individuals, groups, sectors and institutions who have made marks in the enrichment, development or promotion in these fields—and many other fields.
The province’s CPG Scholarship Program recipients and Batang Pinoy athlete-medalists were also acknowledged and honored during the CPG commemoration.
Garcia loved sports, especially chess which he played as a favorite pastime.
Provincial Board Member Frans Garcia, chair of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee on Education, presented the CPG scholars from the different schools.
MANSION TO SHOWCASE BOHOL
Still pursuant to his culture and art program, Yap will submit the Governor’s Mansion ground to an open competition of designs.
He would like the area to be a mix-use facility in a design that “honors Bohol’s culture, identity, history and openness to change and modernity.”
“It is time to build a fitting facility and monument that will celebrate our culture and history while opening the Mansion to a multiple range of users,” Yap said.
Garcia had regarded being proud of culture and history as one show of patriotism.
In his own words, Garcia said, as quoted by Chatto in his Congress speech, “Patriotism also means that, wherever we may be, we are proud of our culture — our dance and our arts and the traditions of our people.”
Above all, Garcia said “patriotism is unselfish like Jose Rizal’s love of country.”
The national hero, Rizal died in December of the same year that Garcia was born in November—1896.
The greatest Boholano, Garcia died in 1971 in the same month that Rizal was born in 1861—June. (Ven rebo Arigo)