For immediate release:
June 17, 2011
Date of heroic date to birthdate: CEGP prefers the former as Rizal Day
Jose Rizal was the social critic of his time, giving emphasis on the plight of the Filipino masses under Spanish colonial rule. He was one of the first propagandists who exposed the ills of a foreign dominated society through his works.
Unlike most of the scholars of his time, Rizal made use of his education to articulate the issues of the Filipino people. Being exposed to the ideas of freedom and liberty in Europe, he was able to come up with a criticism on the status of his home country that was then directly dominated by a foreign master. The combination of the ideas of freedom and liberation combined with a critical analysis of Philippine society inspired many of the revolutions in our history, and also inspired Rizal.
Rizal Day is traditionally celebrated on December 30th, the date of his execution at Bagumbayan. It is on that date that we bring in to mind his contributions to the liberation of the Filipino people from the Spanish colonizers. It is on that day we remember that a man was executed for arming the Filipino people with revolutionary ideas which, back then, was considered the biggest threat to the colonial masters.
It is not only a national hero’s life that we celebrate on that national holiday, but we also give emphasis on his contributions to the revolutionary culture of the Filipino people.
By moving the date of Rizal Day to his birth date of June 19th, we are forgetting the essence of celebrating Rizal Day. Yes, Rizal played a big part in the struggle for freedom but we forget that it was the collective action of the Filipino people who ensured the victory of the struggle. He was not the only one who sacrificed his life for the liberation of his country, but he is only one of the thousands of Filipinos who lost their life for the same cause.
June 19th is the birthdate of someone who is yet to learn about the Philippine society. December 30th is the date of execution of a national icon who has taught the Filipino people to struggle for their rights and liberation. Which one of these dates then, shows more relevance to us as Filipinos and our revolutionary history? ###
Paul Randy Gumanao
VP for Mindanao
College Editors Guild of the Philippinesjose rizal