What’s in a name?
In politics, a lot.
Have you noticed certain local public buildings, roads, bridges are names after certain people who have departed?
That is because under the local government code the local sanggunians such as the sangguniang panlalawigan, city and municipal sanggunians are authorized by the local government code to name public places or buildings or structures.
Under the local government code local sanggunians can name local roads, avenues, boulevard, thoroughfares and bridges, publilc vocational or technical schools and other post-secondary and tertiary schools.
Even provincial hospitals, health centers or any public place or building owned by the local government can be named by authority of the sanggunian.
There are laudable reasons for naming some public place or building or road, especially after a certain person long dead.
The purpose is to perpetuate the memory of one, probably a local inhabitant who had made positive contributions to the locality.
One perfect example is the main road called “Carlos P. Garcia” Tagbilaran’s main thoroughfare.
This is in honor of Bohol’s illustrious son who became President of the Republic.
This province is among the very few in the nation who can claim to have produced a President. That is fitting.
On the flipside, naming public places and roads can be abused.
It can be used for political named recall.
For example at the instance of a provincial governor, he would prod the sanggunian to name a public edifice in the name of his dead father who was once a public official.
There may be no problem with that except that since the incumbent has a family name which is the same with that of the deceased father, it is used as an unfair advantage during elections.
For this reason I think the local government code needs to be amended such that no public property, building or roads should be named after a person whose name or family name would be the same as that of any incumbent whether that honored person is a relative or not.
The local government code has conditions before a public place or road or edifice is named after a person.
One condition is that there must be prior consultation with the National Historical Commission.
Another condition is that the person in whose honor such public property is named must already be dead.
The exception to this is that the name of a family in a particular community whose members have significantly contributed to the welfare of the Filipino people may be used even if some members may still be alive.
The late Senator Nene Pimentel recounted an anecdote d when he was still an opposition member of the Batasan Pambansa during the Marcos regime.
Nene Pimentel objected to the naming of a barangay “Imelda” in the place of the then Batasan Speaker Nicanor Yniguez.
Pimentel said the use of Imelda’s name was illegal because Imelda Romualdez Marcos (who was First Lady then) was verymuch alive and there was a law prohibiting the use of a living person’s name to identify a public place.
Yniguez squelched Pimentel’s argument by claiming that the barangay was named after Yniguez’ deceased grandmother, who was named “Imelda”.
For me there is much more to naming a local public place or structure to honor a deceased person.
In many instances, it is actually used for name re-call.