The Franciscan Friars in the Basilica Minore de Santuario de San Pedro Bautista reminded the law makers of the historical value of San Francisco Del Monte Avenue. Fr. Cielito Almazan, Provincial Minister of the Franciscans said that St. Pedro Bautista, who walked the grounds of San Francisco Del Monte in the year 1590, was actually the one who named the place. He named it after St. Francis and added the words “Del Monte” meaning “of mountains” to describe the mountainous terrain and differentiate the place from San Francisco de Manila which was built in Intramuros. St. Pedro Bautista, a Franciscan Friar, also established a retreat house in the area. He prayed and meditated in this church that he built before going on his mission to Japan where he was eventually martyred.
The oldest church in Quezon City that stands proudly in San Francisco del Monte Avenue was recently declared as Basilica Minore de Santuario de San Pedro Bautista.
Fr. Irineo Tactac, III, Rector and Parish Priest of the Minor Basilica, encouraged the lawmakers to review the history and see the value of having the oldest church and the oldest place in Quezon City. He also emphasized the profound connection of San Francisco Del Monte to the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. “Si San Pedro Bautista, ang patron ng lugar [na ito] ay dito namuhay, dito nagsagawa ng misyon at isa [siya] sa mga unang misyonero na kung saan kasama ang mga order ng Franciscano na nagpalaganap ng ating pananampalatayang Kristiyano [sa Pilipinas],” Fr. Tactac said.
Six barangays also oppose the renaming of San Francisco Del Monte Avenue. These are Brgys. Damayan, Mariblo, Del Monte, Paraiso, Masambong, and Talayan. They suggest to rename Roosevelt Avenue instead of Del Monte Avenue because Fernando Poe Jr.’s ancestral house is along Roosevelt and not on Del Monte. The Franciscans also wrote a letter to the senators and they are open to have a dialogue to amend the Senate Bill 1882.