Governor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates defended that the decision to alter the provincial government of Palawan’s official seal was made to reflect the province’s unique identity and the changes it has undergone over the years.
Socrates provided the explanation during Friday’s Arampangan sa Kapitolyo, following criticism of the move.
The old seal depicts images that are no longer associated with the provincial government, such as the Puerto Princesa Underground River, which was removed from the province’s jurisdiction in 2007 when the city was transformed into a highly urbanized city, he explained.
The Tandikan, or the Palawan peacock pheasant, which serves as the official seal of Puerto Princesa City, was also eliminated.
“I suppose it’s part of the newness, somehow nagbago ng kaunti yung ating kalagayan, and hopefully, for the better. New and probably more realistic, in keeping with the truth. Mas lumalarawan sa kasalukuyang reyalidad sa ating lalawigan,” Socrates explained.
“And, of course, with the province celebrating 400 years of Christianity so maybe we need substantial changes,” he added.
He further said the new logo bears simplicity with the main island of the province as the centerpiece while images of Saint Augustine Church in Cuyo and the Manunggul Jar displayed at the upper left and lower right portions. The Kalayaan Island Group and Cagayancillo Island were also enclosed by broken lines to give prominence.
The two towns also play significant roles with Kalayaan being situated in the West Philippine Sea and Cagayancillo being home of the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park which is a World Heritage Site.
St. Augustine Church and the Manunggul Jar also both play significant roles in the province’s history. The church was constructed during the Spanish period that served as a fortress against Moro raiders and invaders. The jar on the other hand was found by American archeologist Dr. Robert Fox in the Tabon Caves in Quezon town is considered as a national cultural treasure.
Socrates also explained that the two images somehow reflect the geographical subdivision of the province with the church representing the northern part while the jar represents the southern part, as well as its religious culture.
“Sa north ay nandoon yung mga kuta dahil yun yung inabutan ng mga Español bago sila umalis sa Pilipinas. Meron sa Cuyo, meron sa Cagayancillo, Magsaysay, Agutaya, Taytay, Dumaran. Nasa sur naman yung Tabon Caves kung saan natagpuan yung Manunggul Jar,” he said.
“And maybe, the fort also represents Christianity and the Manunggul Jar also represents the indigenous religions, because it also is a religious object as its cover depicts two men aboard a boat which symbolizes the journey of the dead into the afterlife. So they represent Christianity and non-Christian religions that are also part of our community. So more or less, reflected yung ating kasaysayan, yung ating kabuuan bilang isang kultura,” he added.
Provincial Planning and Development Office head Sharlene Vilches explained that the creation and design of the new logo was created through a participatory and consultative process which started during the Usapang Palawan summit held last year.
She added that further deliberations were made before the final design was endorsed by the Provincial Development Council.
“The idea was arrived at during the pre-consultation workshop with stakeholders and the new design was presented on the 3rd day [of the summit],” Vilches said.
“The initial design drew comments and criticisms but we took it positively which we used to improve it and make it simple yet depicts the right representation of the province,” she added.
Meanwhile, Cesar Sammy Magbanua, chief of staff of the Office of the Provincial Governor further explained that the use of the new logo was institutionalized through Provincial Ordinance no. 3109 series of 2022, thereby repealing a provision of Provincial Ordinance 269-A or the Provincial Administrative Code of Palawan which created the former provincial seal.
Magbanua further explained that the fading turquoise blue to green color of the coat of arms depicts the sea that abounds the island while the color yellow is adopted from the old seal.
He also said they will consider the possibility of requesting the National Museum of the Philippines to bring the original Manunggul Jar back to the province to be displayed either at the Palawan Museum or the old Governor’s Mansion that is set to be restored and renovated, to add to its attraction.
A replica of the jar is on display at the Palawan Museum and another one at the National Museum in Quezon town.
“We will certainly explore that possibility although I am not really sure if the one displayed at the national museum is indeed the original because I think such historical treasures are kept under lock and key. But we will certainly look into it,” he said.