CAMDEN, N.J. – The Camden County Parks Department is improving the site of the Jose P. Rizal monument in Cooper River Park in recognition of the 158th anniversary of his birth. The 10-foot tall bronze statue of the key figure in the Philippines Propaganda Movement during the late 19th Century, was originally donated by the Philippine government in 1998.
In 2018, The Philippine Government through the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, re-invested in the monument and brought the original artist to the United States for several weeks to make landscape and hardscape renovations. The statue’s refurbishment was completed late last year, and at that time Camden County committed to restoring the flooring and tile work of the monument.
“The improvements will replace some tiling on the floor of the monument while preserving the intended image of a Philippine and American flag – symbolizing the countries’ longstanding position as allies,” Freeholder Jeff Nash, liaison to the Camden County Parks Department said in a press release. “The statue and the entire Rizal Memorial Park is a recognition of the robust and active Filipino-American community in Camden County and its culture.”
Rizal, an ophthalmologist by trade, was a writer and key member of the movement which advocated for political reforms when the country was a colony under Spanish rule. Rizal was executed by the Spanish government at the age of 35 after his writings inspired the Philippine Revolution.
Local groups including the Knights of Rizal, held a wreath laying at the monument to commemorate Rizal’s 158th birthday and to celebrate his legacy in Filipino culture on Wednesday, June 19.
Rizal Memorial Park is located in Memorial Grove, a section of Cooper River Park containing several other significant monuments to members of the Camden County community.