TARLAC CITY – Manila businessman Mel Velarde has donated the replica of the 1734 Murillo Map of the Philippines to the Northern Luzon Command based at Camp Gen. Servillano Aquino here.
In a simple ceremony inside the Nolcom Conference Room, Velarde turned over the 6 x 8 ft glass-covered framed Murillo Map to the Nolcom top brass led Lt. Gen. Romeo T. Tanalgo. “I speak highly of our soldiers. I thank you for your heroism. So, I am here to personally hand over the Murillo Map so that you may have a background of what we stand for over our islands at the West Philippine Sea,” Velarde said.
He told the officers and men of Nolcom that they were the very first recipients of the official replica of the 1734 Murillo Map made by then Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde of Spain. Velarde said that the map was made during the time of Diego Silang revolt and other Muslim in the South against the Spaniards. “Filipinos are freedom- loving people and do not want to be subservient to any foreign rulers,” he said.
Velarde claimed that all maps and all territory lines of the world are drawn, not with ink but by blood, and it is the same, he said, with our forefathers who defended the country from foreign aggressors.
He related how he acquired the Murillo Map. He said he was given a little wealth from his earnings as a businessman. So, when he learned that there was a Sotheby’s Auction in England for the 1734 Murillo Map, he made a bidding and got it for P12- million.
“Ano ba naman ang 12 million kung makakatulong ito sa laban natin para sa ating bansa?” Velarde said in Pilipino. “This is our own little way of helping you, helping the nation and to recognized the proud members of Nolcom.”
He lauded the Armed Forces of the Philippines because they are true soldiers of the Filipino people unlike China, He said that the People’s Liberation Army is the army of the Communist Party,not of the Chinese people.
Tanalgo expressed gratitude for Velarde’s gesture in donating the Murillo Map.” Malaking tulong sa aming pangkat sa Northern Luzon Command kasama na ang aming Army, Air Force, Navy at pati na ang ating mamamayan, sa aming layunin na paghibayuhin pa ang pagiging makabansa,” Nolcom’s commanding general said.
He narrated that time and time again the Filipino soldiers have displayed unusual bravery like what the late Gen. Boni Serrano did during the Korean War, when he and his 200 men repelled the more than 2,000 Chinese communists who wanted to overrun their post. He said that although the AFP lacks in modern equipment, its personnel compliment with their bravery and fighting spirit.
Velarde said when the original copy of the 1734 Murillo Map would be arriving next month, it will be kept at the National Museum but he said, he will also distribute replicas to the Department of Education, He said he would also make a separate literature on the history of the
The map, in sepia color, has black ink markings indicating the names of places in the country at the time it was made. At the side of the map are drawings of people in different livelihoods and trades.
A unit of the AFP, Nolcom has jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea, some islands of which like the Scarborough Shoals, have been occupied by China. The Philippines has challenged the Chinese claims in an international court. Homer Teodoro/ www.northboundasia.com