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Saturday, July 06, 2019

Essay, Lezo, Aklan

Lezo, Aklan
By
Melchor F. Cichon
July 6, 2019
Today, July 6, 2019, Lezo, Aklan celebrates its 154th foundation day.
Lezo, the smallest of the seventeen (17) municipalities of the Province of Aklan was once a part of the municipality of Kalibo. It was once a barrio and was known as “Guicod,” a term derived from the word “Guicab,” which means a cavern in a creek where eels were abundant. The said creek can still be found at the back of Lezo Elementary School, now called Lezo Integrated School. It was also once called “Tierra Alta,” meaning high land, because its center was the only spot, which was not covered with great floods during the early days.
It was only during the time of Don Juan Legaspi and Benedicta Geronimo when the drive for its independence as a municipality was realized. With some of the prominent people in Lezo, they organized themselves in 1865 and petitioned to the Spanish authorities to grant their request of making Lezo an independent municipality from Kalibo.
Upon the granting of their request, many possible names were suggested for the newly created town but was later on decided to be named after a Spanish naval officer named Lezo who was present during that said negotiation.
But this statement is questionable because: (1.) The complete name of this naval officer has never been mentioned. ( 2. ) There was a Spanish naval officer named Blas de Lezo who died on September 7, 1741, or almost a century before the founding of Lezo, Aklan. (3). There is a place in Spain named Lezo after Admiral Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta, KOGF, OHS (3 February 1689 – 7 September 1741) who was a Basque officer in the Spanish Navy best remembered for the Battle of Cartagena de Indias (1741) in modern-day Colombia, where Spanish imperial forces under his command resisted a siege by a large British invasion fleet under Admiral Edward Vernon.
So it is very much possible that the town of Lezo, Aklan was named, as usually the case in naming many towns in the Philippines, after this town Lezo, Spain and not after this alleged Spanish naval officer who was always present during the negotiations for the separation of Lezo from Kalibo.
As per decree of March 21, 1865, the town was inaugurated on July 6, 1865.
The town was handled by various leaders and was said to have encountered hard times due to the decrease of their revenues in 1904. Because of this, Lezo, together with the municipalities of Numancia and Banga, was again annexed to the Municipality of Kalibo. It only revived its independence as a municipality in 1910 having Patricio Motus as the appointed Presidente Municipal. Its independence was made stronger by an Executive Order No. 364 dated August 28, 1941, which was signed by President Manuel L. Quezon.
Another inauguration of the town was held in 1942. A guerilla named Capt. Prudencio Fernandez from Sta. Cruz, Lezo, together with Atty. Moises F. Morado from Poblacion, Lezo, young, and the only lawyer of the town led the said inauguration at that time. Atty. Morado was then appointed as mayor of the town and served from 1942 to 1943.
The source of income of the municipality came from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), being an inland municipality. It is also dependent in the income of the agricultural sector since ½ of its population are engaged in farming.
(Source: Lezo Municipal Planning and Development Office. Brief Description of the Municipality of Lezo.)

Portrait of Lezo, Museo Naval de Madrid (see below)
Birth name Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta
Born February 3, 1689
Pasajes, Guip├║zcoa, Spain
Died September 7, 1741 (aged 52)
Cartagena de Indias, New Granada
Allegiance Kingdom of Spain
Service/branch Royal Spanish Navy
Years of service 1704–1741
Rank Admiral
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blas_de_Lezo. Retrieved: July 5, 2018.
en.wikipedia.org
Admiral Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta, KOGF, OHS (3 February 1689 – 7 September 1741) was a Spanish navy officer best remembered for the Battle of Cartagena de Indias (1741) in modern-day Colombia, where Spanish imperial forces under his command decisively defeated a large British invasion fleet unde...

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