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For more than a century, Filipino people pay tribute to a great man who was wrongly accused and executed at Bagumbayan, more popularly known as Luneta Park, on December 30, 1896. He was Dr. Jose P. Rizal.
Who could ever forget him who sacrificed his life and happiness for the sake of his beloved country?
In history, two years after Rizal’s martyrdom, then President Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree to commemorate the hero’s death for his heroism and sacrifices for his native land.
As an annual commemoration for the Philipines since then, in the 123rd Rizal’s Death Anniversary last month, the great Malay hero was honored again in various areas in the Philippines and even abroad with the theme, “Jose Rizal: Huwaran ng Pilipino sa Ikadalawapamwu’t Isang Siglo.”
In an interview of Palawan Daily News (PDN) with Mr. Michael Angelo Doblado, History and Rizal subject teacher of Palawan State University (PSU)-Main, he reiterated that Gat. Jose Rizal was not a member of KKK nor supported it.
“Hindi talaga siya sumusuporta sa himagsikan. Actually, nangako pa nga siya noong sa Dapitan [pa lamang siya] at tumupad pa nga siya sa pangako niya na hindi siya lalahok sa anumang gawaing pampulitikal o susulat na pulitikal na sulat na ginagawa niya dati,” Doblado said.
He even praised Rizal for being the youth’s best role model during his time.
“Si Rizal ay isa sa mga…pinakamagandang halimbawa ng modernong kabataan nu’ng time na siya ay nabubuhay,” he said.
Doblado, an alumnus of the University of the Philippines-Baguio, explained that Rizal was only linked to KKK because his name was used by the Katipuneros, led by Gat. Andres Bonifacio, as a password of their secret group and also used his picture as their inspiration.
“…[K]inikilala si Rizal ng mga Katipunero, ng KKK at ni Bonifacio, bilang kaluluwa o ‘yung soul ng rebolusyon. Hindi ito alam ni Rizal kaya isa ito sa mga paratang sa kanya noong siya ay nililitis ng mga Kastila,” he added.
Rizal exposed the wrongdoings of the Spaniards through his literary pieces that depicted the hardships of Filipinos under the Spanish regime.
“Nasa peak siya ng kanyang career at 35 ay sinakripisyo niya ang kanyang buhay para sa para sa ating bayan, para imulat ang ating mga kababayan ng panahon na ‘yon ng mga kastila na mayroon palang kamalayang Pilipino, na mayroon palang bansang Pilipinas….Ang kanyang buhay, lalong-lalo na ang kanyang mga sinulat, ang dahilan kung bakit tayo naging bansa. ‘Yun ang naging mitsa ng pagbubuo ng bansang Pilipinas,” Doblado further said.
He added that Filipino people do not yet realize and practice the essence and the real message of Rizal’s writings.
“Hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin natututunan ng mga Pilipino ang mga aral ni Rizal kaya siya relevant. Kapag ginawa na natin siyang irrelevant, nangangahulugan na lahat ng mga pangarap niya sa bansa ay ginawa na ng mga Pilipino,” he said.
According to him, Rizal is still relevant even in modern society because the social ills that he condemned more than a hundred years ago are still prevalent in the Philippines today. The only difference and the sad truth is that the new inflicters are also Filipinos.
“Siya ay social analysist no’ng panahon ng mga Kastila. Nilalabas niya ang mga problema kagaya ng kurapsyon, pagmamalabis, exploitation. Ang nakalulungkot nga, ‘pag sinabing kurpasyon, parang makabago kasi hanggang ngayon ay may kurapsyon, hanggang ngayon ay may eksploytasyon, hanggang ngayon ay may pagmamalabis sa katungkulan o posisyon. Buti pa noong panahon ni Rizal, mga banyaga, mga kastila ang gumagawa nito sa mga indio, sa makabagong panahon natin, kapwa Pilipino natin ang mga gumagawa,” he pointed out.
A Filipino admired by the foreigners
“Alam mo ba na sa Malaysia, sa Indonesia lalong-lalo na, binabasa ng mga Indonesians ang mga sinulat ni Rizal, at kasama siya sa mga inspirasyon ng mga Indonesians. Di ba nakakaiba? ‘Yung mga kabataan ng ibang bansa, humuhugot ng inspirasyon sa ating pambansang bayani, na dapat tayo mismo na mga Pilipino!” he said.
Way back in 1956, Pres. Ramon Magsaysay signed a law—-RA 1425 or commonly known as Rizal Law—-that mandates all public and private schools, colleges and universities to offer courses about the life, works, and writings of Jose Rizal, particularly his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. But asking the attitude of Pinoys in reading the hero’s novels of social significance is a different story.
“Kailan ba huling nagbasa ang isang Pilipinong kabataan ng mga gawa ni Rizal, maliban doon sa subject na Rizal? Naging leisure reading mo ba siya? Talaga bang kumuha ka ng panahon para hanapin ang mga sinulat niya para basahin? Kasi ang nangyayari, sa experience ko, nababasa mo lang ang Rizal dahil required, hindi mo siya binabasa dahil pambansang bayani siya,” he asked.
A question to ponder
“Actually, ang pinakamaganda sanang matutunan ng mga kabataan, hindi lang ng mga Palawenyo, kundi sa kabuuan na mga Pilipinong kabataan is ‘yung pagmamalasakit at pagmamahal sa bayan. Hindi mo naman kinakailangan na maging katulad kay Dr. Jose Rizal, ang ating pambansang bayani na iaalay ang iyong buhay, magpapabaril sa Luneta—pwede tayong maging Rizal sa ating sariling pamamaraan, sa lahat ng ating ginagawa,” aniya.
He said that anyone could follow Rizal’s footsteps by being honest in his work and giving his best into it, by being a well-discipled individual, and by having a true sense of patritiosm for his country.
More information about Rizal:
- Jose P. Rizal’s full name is Jose Protasio Alonso Realonda Mercado Rizal. The initial letter “P” in his name is based on Spanish custom to shorten the second name of a person like the names of Manuel Luis Molina Quezon (Manuel L. Quezon); Jose Paciano Garcia Laurel (Jose P. Laurel), inspired by Rizal’s brother Paciano; and former Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III (Benigno S. Aquino III).
- The name of Jose Rizal is widely used. In the province of Palawan, the municipality formerly called Marcos was changed to Municipality of Jose P. Rizal, as an honor for him.
- In Puerto Princesa City, the LGU named one of their major thoroughfares as Rizal Avenue and Rizal Avenue Extension. Of course, no one ever forgets the patriotic polyglot Filipino!
- Aside from transportation, it’s quite also unique that in the City of Puerto Princesa alone, there are four (4) shrines built for Rizal—one is located in front of the historical Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral Parish (ICCP), in a straight line facing the Philippine flag; the other one is located in Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) built in 1938, facing again the flag and the Admin Building and perpendicular to St. Joseph Chapel; the third one, built in 1961, is in Inagawan Sub-colony (one of the three sub-colonies of IPPF-Bureau of Corrections), facing also the Philippine Flag while the fourth is located at Brgy. Sta. Lucia.
- Rizal’s proposal for Sandakan, Sabah. Rizal once asked the Spanish authorities to develop Sandakan, Sabah as an agricultural colony for Calamba Farmers as a solution of the high rent that the Dominican Friars imposed to locals. One of the supposed beneficiaries was his family but unfortunately, the proposal was turned down by the government.
- Rizal sacrificed his love life. He had a choice actually to have a peaceful life with his loved one. He could choose to marry his Japanese girlfriend, Usui Seiko, whom he fondly calls O-sei San but opted to choose his greater calling.
- He is thrifty (Kuripot). During his studies in Europe, he always ran out of money because of the financial difficulties his family was facing in Calamba so he spent his money wisely.
- Rizal was a killjoy. He did not drink alcohol and scolded his friends instead for wasting their money and reminded them not to forget their main objective of aiming higher education in Europe, that is, to help their beloved country.
- In relation to No. 7, when Rizal’s family took too long to send him money, there were times that he had to skip meals. But in spite of this, he still managed to hide his sufferings. So, before 12:00 o’clock, he went to a park, cursed his misfortune and came back as if he is full and happy.
- He was fond of lotto betting and won during his exile in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte.
- Rizal was a business-minded man. He sold stockings to the women in Dapitan.
- His favorite viand in the morning was sardinas secas or “tuyo” (tamban), together with hot chocolate and champorado.
- Some authors say that our national hero had premonitions, for instance, he said that someday, people will make monuments and images of him after he dies, he will be a great man someday, and he will die before the age of 40.
- Rizal’s brother Paciano had great contributions of becoming him as a nation’s hero.
- Rizal refused to give up his Catholic faith, for the sake of love. So he and Filipino-French girlfriend, Nellie Boustead did not end up in marriage.