The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, and the Chief of Staff of the Army (JEME), General Francisco Javier Varela Salas, inaugurated this week the monument to the Heroes of Baler, popularly known as the last men in the Philippines, in Madrid’s Plaza del Conde del Valle de Suchil.
The event, which took place last Monday, was attended by the Vice Consul of the Philippines, Ralf G. Roldan, and even by one of the great-great-grandchildren of the honorees. The work, financed by popular subscription through the initiative of the Army Museum Foundation, was made by sculptor Salvador Amaya from a sketch by painter Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau.
The ceremony was also attended by the King’s Immemorial Infantry Regiment No. 1 and a commission from the Philippines Battalion, the latter dressed in the striped uniform worn by the Spanish unit in 1898. At the end of the tribute, the association Los últimos de Filipinas gave its commemorative medal to the mayor and to the JEME. The monument had been banned by the previous Madrid City Council because it paid homage to “a colonial army”.