Follow Rizal’s lead, Filipinos told
Dr. Jose Rizal, whose martyrdom is being commemorated today, is the perfect example of a “magnificent” Filipino, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said on Thursday.
Sueno said Filipinos should be motivated by Rizal’s life, noting that aside from his political thoughts, his studies also covered medicine, language, arts and other fields.
“With the might of his ideas and writings, Rizal awakened and moved our ancestors towards reclaiming Filipino freedom and dignity,” Sueno said. “Rizal is a magnificent Filipino and I believe that modern day Filipinos can take much inspiration from him.”
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines, which is in charge of this year’s national Rizal Day commemoration, has adopted the theme “Rizal: Bayaning Global, Aydol ni Juan.”
“Rizal Day is a day of appreciating Rizal as a hero, an icon and a perfect example on how to be a Filipino,” Sueno said in the circular.
The secretary also called on the public to use the long holiday weekend to read about Rizal.
“Rizal is a visionary, prolific Filipino yet he is just as human as we are. He was able to hone his potentials through perseverance and diligence. Any Filipino can also be a global Pinoy and be worth emulating by Juans and Juanas,” Sueno said.
“The values he espoused are still relevant up to our time such as citizen participation and participatory governance,” he added.
The secretary recalled that character Crisostomo Ibarra in Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere” urged citizens to take part in matters that concern them.
Sueno noted that President Duterte believed that Rizal was in favor of a federal form of government.
In Rizal’s essay, “Filipinas Dentro De Cien Años” (The Philippines a Century Hence) published in the reformist
paper La Solidaridad, the hero predicted that the Philippines, once liberated, would probably adopt a federal republic.
Many historians believe that Rizal was influenced by his mentor, Francesco Pi y Margall, President of the short-lived First Spanish Republic in 1873, who advocated autonomy and a federal setup of government that would benefit his native region of Catalonia.
The Duterte administration has been pushing its allies in Congress for constitutional amendments to transform the country’s system of government from unitary to federal.
The President tasked the Interior Department to undertake a nationwide information campaign on federalism in partnership with various alliances and with local government units, civil society, grassroots and faith-based organizations.
Sen. Grace Poe said Rizal’s heroism “lies in loving our country in thoughts, words and deeds.”
“There need not be bloodshed to show our love for the motherland,” Poe said, but did not elaborate when asked by the Inquirer whether she was referring to the government’s antidrug war.
“Although Rizal made the ultimate sacrifice with his life having been executed, it is his written works that serve as a chronicle of history, patriotism and culture that inspire generations of Filipinos long after his death,” she said.