Dr. Jacobo Fajardo Pre-War House in Sampaloc: A Heritage Lost
“Please inform the Congress of the United States Mr. Commissioner, that we have here not only a stable form of government, but also a healthy country inhabited by 13,000,000 happy and liberty-loving sturdy Filipinos. As a people, we may be young but we have potentialities to grow stronger and healthier to be able to take part in the concert of nations. Can we do this in an independent Philippines? With the inspiration and help of Divine Providence and with the unconditional help of our people, I say we can (Dr. Jacobo Fajardo, Philippine director of Health, in a memorandum to Resident Commissioner Osias on the problems of health and sanitation under an independent Philippines, November 19, 1931).” (Source: Camilio Osias & Mauro Baradi, The Philippine Charter of Liberty, 1933, p.102).
Dr. Jacobo Fajardo (Courtesy of Fajardo-Jacinto Geneology website http://fajardo-jacinto.blogspot.com/).
Dr. Jacobo Fajardo, with his 1931 “….we can” to Philippine independence from the Americans, predates Obama’s famous “Yes, We Can!” election campaign slogan in 2008 by almost 77 years. Dr. Fajardo who? Today, except probably for the residents or commuters that ply the long stretch of J. Fajardo Street in Sampaloc, Manila, nobody really knows the doctor. The National Historical Institute, called Dr. J. Fajardo a “…distinguished physician and surgeon” who served as Director of the Bureau of Health during the American colonial period (http://www.nhi.gov.ph/downloads/sm0016.pdf). In the Fajardo-Jacinto family geneology website, Dr. Fajardo’s achievement as a pioneering public health official was highlighted. Dr. Fajardo graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 1906 and became the second Filipino appointed to head the Bureau of Health in 1924. At around 1931, Dr. Fajardo became responsible for about 522 medical staff and 2,483 non-medical staff of the said Bureau of Health (see Hearings before the Commitee on Territories and Insular Affairs, U.S. Senate, 1932, p. 522). However, on Jan 9, 1937, then President Manuel L. Quezon accepted the resignation of Dr. Fajardo as Director for the Bureau of Health. In his statement, President Quezon mentioned that Dr. Fajardo resigned even before an investigation into his conduct has been initiated and that allegations or “…charges against him affecting his honesty were not proved….” (Philippine Magazine, Feb 1937, p.60).In recognition of his achievements, the former “Calle Lealtad” in Sampaloc was renamed to J. Fajardo Street (see Daluyan: A historical Dictionary of the Streets of Manila, NHI, 2006. p.43)
Very, very soon, the last physical and historical vestiges of Dr. Jacobo Fajardo will disappear along the streets of Sampaloc and only the street sign that bears his name will remain (and even that could be replaced by another political act). The unfortunate demolition of the pre-war residence of Dr. Jacobo Fajardo started two weeks ago and at the speed of work (why is it so faster to demolish?) will probably be completed within the next two weeks as well. The residential house and property of Dr. Jacobo Fajardo near the start of J. Fajardo Street, Sampaloc, Manila, has been up for sale for many years and apparently has been sold. We don’t know what structure will resurrect from the ashes of the Dr. Jacobo Fajardo residence (another apartment building?). With the loss of this pre-war architectural structure, the only other pre-war historical structure that stands along J.Fajardo street is the Legarda Elementary School. Within the boundaries of Balic-balic, Sampaloc, the other pre-war residential houses are those of the Legardas, Lopezes, and Sorianos.
Image: Location Map of J. Fajardo Residence, nearly Legarda Elementary School and Ang Gubat Legarda Estate.
Image Left: J. Fajardo House Stairway Going to 2nd flr; Image Right, Only main posts of 2nd floor can be seen.
Image Below: Reception Area (facing east) shown from inside and outside.