Aquino can’t believe question asked why Mabini was seated throughout Luna movie
President Aquino could hardly believe there were young Filipinos asking why Apolinario Mabini was seated throughout the historical blockbuster film “Heneral Luna.”
By some coincidence, the Apolinario Mabini Awards ceremony took place on Tuesday at Malacañang’s Heroes Hall, presided over by the President, after days of heated discussion about how much, or how little, the youth know about history.
The Mabini Awards commend individuals and companies that have given “outstanding service” to the persons with disabilities (PWDs) sector.
Most importantly, they give recognition to differently abled individuals who have surpassed challenges and distinguished themselves in their fields.
Stricken with polio, Mabini lost the ability to walk but his intellect and commitment to the country made him an important and influential figure during the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War that followed later.
Aquino opened his speech by saying that he had not yet seen the movie “Heneral Luna.” However, it had come to his attention that the actor Epy Quizon, who played Mabini, was asked by college students why his character not once stood up in the film.
Apparently, word got to the President that some netizens supposedly said Mabini might just have been tired.
‘His mind was his weapon’
The President said he could only shake his head in disbelief.
“Even if only a few students said this, we can say that this is a reflection of how little some of the youth know about history. Later, I will call up (Education Secretary) Armin (Luistro) to act on this,” Aquino said.
He said it had become timely to ask why the nation considered Mabini a hero.
Importance of Mabini
“We cannot question the depth and breadth of the contribution to our country of the man we call the ‘Sublime Paralytic’ and the ‘Brains of the Revolution.’ He represented the intelligence and convictions of the Filipino people. His sharp mind was his weapon to strengthen the foundation of our democratic institution,” Aquino said in Filipino.
Aquino said Mabini emphasized that the future of a nation did not lie only in the hands of those in power.
“The people have a voice and they are our country’s source of power,” the President said. “That is why despite Apolinario Mabini’s condition, he was respected and considered great at the time of chaos and war.”
According to him, the Mabini Awards recognize the efforts of individuals and groups to advance the rights of Filipinos with disabilities as productive and exemplary members of society.
He underscored his admiration for the PWD sector, saying he believed they should actually be referred to as “more abled” than “differently abled” for choosing to fight, and for honing their full potentials for their families and their country.
Darlito Palermo, an engineer who became the very first PWD youth leader of Agdao town in Davao City, received the Mabini Presidential Award.
SM Cares Program on Disability Affairs was presented the Hall of Fame Award.
The Resources for the Blind Inc. executive director, Randy Weisser, was given special recognition under the Mabini Presidential Award for his 26-year work to empower visually impaired Filipinos.
Other groups and individuals were given recognition, including Annette Lee-Esparaz, who coauthored “TouchBooks,” the very first picture book for visually impaired Filipino students using Braille.
In his speech, Aquino also mentioned the Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine, which takes care of 250,000 PWDs.
The Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled launched the Mabini Awards in 1974. It has since become a biennial program.
Aquino expressed hope that in the coming elections, the Commission on Elections would promote the implementation of Republic Act No. 10366, which he signed in 2013. It mandates the Comelec to designate areas where PWDs and senior citizens could vote during elections.
He also said the government was working double time to bring benefits to the PWD sector.
Aquino said that over 217,000 PWDs had benefited from the government’s conditional cash transfer program and, as of last year, more than 3,000 children with disabilities had been enrolled in public schools and daycare centers.
Before nearly 200 guests, the President vowed that all benefits and opportunities provided by the government to PWDs would be carried out and improved upon with the continuation of the “daang matuwid,” or straight path, policy—a seeming endorsement of the presidential candidacy of administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas.
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