Quezon gov cites COVID-19 frontliners as heroes like ‘Hermano Puli’
TAYABAS CITY––Quezon Gov. Danilo Suarez hailed the heroism and sacrifices of healthcare workers and other frontliners battling COVID-19, as the province commemorated Thursday the 180th death anniversary of hero Apolinario de la Cruz, popularly known as “Hermano Puli.”
“Sa pagdiriwang natin ng kabayanihan ni Hermano Puli, nawa’y magsibling oportunidad ito upang kilalanin natin ang mga bayani ng modernong panahon, kabilang dito ang magigiting na frontliners na humaharap sa pandemic,” Suarez said in his speech during the ceremony in this city.
(As we celebrate the heroism of Hermano Puli, we hope this will serve as an opportunity to recognize modern-day heroes, including our valiant front-liners combating the pandemic.)
The low-key commemoration was held at the foot of the De La Cruz monument on Maharlika Highway in Isabang village in this city, amid the morning drizzle.
All attendees – composed of representatives from civic groups, police, military, local government officials – followed the COVID-19 safety protocols, like wearing face masks and shields, and observed physical distancing.
Suarez led the floral offering at the foot of the monument assisted by Brigadier General Norwyn Romeo Tolentino, commander of the Philippine Army’s 201st Infantry Brigade, who represented Major General Bartolome Vicente Bacorro, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Luzon Command chief.
Malacañang declared Nov. 4 a special non-working day in the province to commemorate De la Cruz’s death anniversary.
Suarez said De La Cruz served as the “catalyst of freedom in the country during the Spanish rule.”
Historians say the heroism of De la Cruz inspired three Filipino revolutionary priests — Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora — whose martyrdom provoked the people to rise against the tyranny of Spanish rule and fight for freedom.
Local government and civic groups also conducted floral offerings at the foot of his monument in Lucban town.
The provincial tourism office showed on its Facebook page the movie “Hermano Puli: Kasaysayan ng Isang Bayani” directed by the late Quezon film director Felino Tañada.
De la Cruz was born on July 22, 1815, in Lucban.
He had wished to become a priest but was discouraged by Spanish friars because he was a native or an “Indio.”
At 17, he founded the Cofradia de San Jose religious movement, which attracted followers in Tayabas; the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite; Tondo in Manila; and some parts of the Bicol region.
Membership reached around 5,000, according to historical records.
Suspected by the Spanish authorities that the movement was a subversive group, De la Cruz and his followers were forced to go underground.
On Nov. 1, 1841, Spanish soldiers attacked De la Cruz and his followers. He escaped but was captured days later and executed on Nov. 4 in Tayabas.
To warn his followers, the Spanish soldiers cut his body into pieces and his head placed in a cage and hanged on a pole on the road.
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