57-Meter Statue of Jesus to Rise in Catanduanes - MB

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani F. Fernando has thrown his support behind the ambitious plan to build a 57-meter statue of a smiling Jesus Christ on Mount Cagmasoso, San Andres, Catanduanes.

The project, a brainchild of San Andres Mayor Leo Mendoza, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Catanduanes chapter, is said to be the first not only in the Philippines but also in the world, due to the size of the religious icon which is taller than the 30-meter statue of Christ in Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is expected to put Catanduanes in the international map as a tourist destination.

Mendoza and the 10 other mayors of the province who are supporting the project launched the "Smiling Risen Christ Monument" project over the weekend at the Catanduanes State College Gym in Virac, provincial capital, and immediately gained the approval of the Diocese of Catanduanes.

Fernando joined Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua, Catanduanes Rep. Joseph Santiago, Bishop Manolo de los Santos of the Diocese of Catanduanes, and the 11 mayors of Catanduanes led by Mendoza during the launching of the project which also coincided with the 63rd founding anniversary of Catanduanes as a province.

The statue of a smiling Jesus will have outstretched arms welcoming visitors to Catanduanes. Aside from its potential to become a religious icon and a tourist attraction, it has been designed to serve as a landmark for seamen and travelers since the statue to be built in Catanduanes will be visible to passing sea vessels.

Fernando in his meeting with the mayors and the barangay leaders of this province who gathered for a development forum organized by the Catanduanes chapter of the LMP which was also attended by Cua and Vice Gov. Alfredo Aquino reiterated anew his call for Filipinos to bring back their innate talents and skills that made the Philippines a great and leading nation in the past.

"We must bring back the glory of the past if we want to rise out of the poverty that many of our countrymen are currently mired in," Fernando said, adding that the nationwide movement that he is initiating to raise the consciousness of Filipinos to adopt a culture of productivity is the only means available for this country to be able to compete against the fast-moving economies in Asia and the rest of the world.

"We have become less productive than before especially with the advent of automation which made everything so easy. What happened was that Filipinos became largely dependent on what automation can do instead of using this automated technology to further improve our skills to become more productive," said Fernando.

Publication: Manila Bulletin
Date: Tuesday, October 28 2008