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Spain celebrates Rizal legacy with Madrid street name

The Rizal monument at the junction of Avenida de las Islas Filipinas and Calle Santander.

A street in Madrid, Spain has been renamed after Dr. Jose Rizal following a city hall resolution which approved changing the name of certain streets, squares and crossings, and replacing them with names suggested by the Commission on Historical Memory.

What was formerly Calle de Algabeño in Barrio de Hortaleza will now be officially known as Calle de Jose Rizal, joining the well-known Rizal monument as tourist destinations which pay homage to the Philippine national hero who once lived in the Spanish capital.

“We welcome the renaming of a street in Madrid to Calle de Jose Rizal. It goes to show that Rizal´s heroic deeds for his country are recognized universally,” said Philippine Ambassador to Spain, Philippe J. Lhuillier.

Consequently, fifty-two plazas and streets in Madrid were renamed. Rizal´s name was in the list of illustrious Spanish and foreign historical figures and events that conformed with the criteria set by the Commission.

While the actual street signs have yet to be changed, the new street names are now being used by the local government and in many business addresses.

“The renaming of a street in Madrid to ‘Calle Jose Rizal’ is not only an honor but also a show of respect and great admiration of the City of Madrid to our national hero. We Filipinos here in Spain would like to express our gratitude to the Spanish people for this great honor. This strengthens once again the ties that bind Spain and the Philippines,” said Florencio Aliganga, Vice Commander of the Knights of Rizal –La Solidaridad Chapter in Madrid.

Although the Philippines and Spain commemorate 70 years of formal diplomatic relations this year, Rizal and the interest in him from Spaniards and Filipinos alike, are proof that the relationship between the two countries and its peoples has been longer, deeper and more dynamic than what is formally acknowledged.

Indeed, Rizal did not just leave his footprints in Madrid. He also galvanized his place in Spain´s history as an inspiring figure whose ideals continue to resonate up to this time.

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