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This bronze statue stands at the center of the Santa Barbara town plaza as tribute to the greatest revolutionary hero the Visayas has ever produced — Gen. Martin T. Delgado.
Unveiled in time for the 1998 centennial celebration, this monument is an unfading memorial to the gallantry and patriotism of General Delgado and his revolutionary forces.
The general’s body, exhumed from its previous place of burial, was laid to rest at the foot of the structure in 2011.
Thinking he was loyal to Spain because he was a mestizo and occupied the highest office in his town, Delgado was appointed to head the Volunteer Militia formed as a way of enlisting the help of Ilonggos in the fight against Tagalog rebels.
The Revolution that broke out in Luzon in 1896 did not immediately spread to Iloilo, and Spanish authorities believed they could keep the Ilonggos loyal to Spain.
Delgado, unknown to Spain, was already a “revolucionario” and publicly declared himself for the Revolution on October 28, 1898.
He took over the municipal building and organized the Revolutionary Government of the Visayas, which was formally inaugurated at the Santa Barbara town plaza on November 17, 1898.
General Delgado raised the Philippine flag for the first time outside of Luzon.
This town of Santa Barbara became the base of the Revolutionary Forces and, from here, the general launched efforts to liberate the whole province of Iloilo.
His campaign culminated in the surrender of Iloilo City by then Governor-General Diego de los Rios on December 24, 1898.
With the Filipino-American war coming on the heels of the victory against Spain, Delgado continued the fight with the same army this time against the Americans. The superior US forces led to Delgado’s surrender in Jaro on February 2, 1901.
Delgado was appointed as the first provincial governor of Iloilo when the Americans established a civil government. He was elected to the same position during the first elections held in 1903.