Youth told Bonifacio, Rizal greatness same
BAGUIO CITY—Dr. Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are Filipino heroes of equal stature and should not be pitted against each other because of a congressional measure that replaces Rizal with Bonifacio as the national hero, according to an official of the Knights of Rizal.
During this year’s Rizal Leadership Training Conference at the Teachers’ Camp here, Reghis Romero II, Knights of Rizal supreme commander, said the debate, which House Bill No. 3431 has inadvertently triggered, was pointless.
The bill, filed by Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate, declares Bonifacio the official Filipino hero, amending a series of proclamations dating back to the late Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo who first honored Rizal by decreeing in 1898 that his Dec. 30 execution would be commemorated as Rizal Day.
On orders of fellow Katipunan leader Aguinaldo, Bonifacio and his brother, Procopio, were arrested and executed on May 10, 1897, in Mt. Nagpatong in Maragondon town, Cavite province. Their deaths have remained a sensitive issue among historians and political factions in Cavite.
“Rizal and Bonifacio had the same aspirations. They were not different at all. They are both heroes,” Romero said in Filipino.
But the present generation of Filipinos have deeper connections to the teachings of Rizal who is the first acknowledged “Global Filipino,” Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said when he spoke to high school students who gathered for the conference on Dec. 16.
Cayetano said Rizal’s observations as a traveling Filipino would serve the current generation, as it provided insights that may unite the country to pursue growth by the year 2020.
Rizal wrote down many of his observations in his journals or books, which explored cultures that embraced the Filipino, he said.
Older generations have been critical of the youth because these last few decades involved challenges that have ruined young people’s dreams, the senator said.
Cayetano said many Filipino parents had been warning their children that earning a degree does not automatically land them jobs, “killing our dreams” to confront reality.
But Rizal’s travels showed no boundaries, which the modern and technologically savvy Filipino youth can appreciate.
“We don’t believe in tomorrow; we believe in today. We don’t believe in saving the inheritance for our future and for our children. We want to experience it now,” Cayetano said.
But Filipinos, he said, must learn to replace their “American dream” with the “Filipino dream.”
The American dream, which drives the United States, is about opportunities that Filipinos still strive for as they take on jobs in countries other than the United States, he said.
Filipinos are praised in some countries for their professionalism, skills and ability to adapt to a foreign culture, but abused in other countries where Filipinos take on menial jobs, Cayetano said.
The American dream, he said, is about the individual aspirations while the Filipino dream is “more noble” because it is about sacrificing for one’s family.
Cayetano said the Filipino youth must also review how he or she values himself or herself.
“Don’t sell yourself short. Doctor Rizal never doubted that the Filipino can,” he said.
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