The principles of our forefathers
We Filipinos owe our forefathers one precious thing in life—our freedom. Yet, they deserve our gratitude even more for their principles that they earnestly espoused. If not for their principles — faith in God, courage to do good, self-respect, self-discipline, and belief in freedom and fairness — they would not have survived the vicissitudes of living and the oppressive treatment by our colonizers.
As a matter of course, they would have failed in the quest for liberty for us all. Let us honor these great men by believing in their principles and emulating their examples that our continued faith in their principles would ensure lasting freedom and in the fullness of time, fair, and rightful treatment of us by other men.
For where else do we look for guidance if not in the examples of our forefathers? Isn’t it fitting that we model ourselves on them and emulate their deeds? People from other countries especially the rich and progressive ones have deep-rooted love for the ideals of their forefathers.
For instance, the United States, a former colony like us, and the most powerful nation in the world, stood and continue to stand on the principle that its citizens are treated with fairness and equality and with opportunity for success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative — a doctrine that positively shaped the lives of Americans until today!
So what can we glean from our own ancestors? History tells us that life during the Spanish era was beset with injustices. However, our forefathers valiantly faced these obstacles, stood on the side of fairness, and followed what they believed was right.
To illustrate, Gregorio Aglipay, a Filipino priest, strove to uplift the lot of the local clergy of the Catholic Church. Aglipay maintained that the local clergy is capable of serving the church and is not to be deemed inferior, inefficient and sidelined to menial jobs — a practice advocated by the Friars (Agoncillo).
Aglipay then was offered a high position and bribes to make him retract from his stand. But he stood firm and graciously declined the offers. He lived and fought to the end fighting for our freedom.
Today, the situations in which we can adapt this great ancestor’s example are plenty, and with them we can bring even more positive changes in the life of Filipinos.
Aglipay has exemplified what a true Filipino is about: one who speaks the truth and what is fair, and what many of us are guilty of today.
In fact, this is a habit that keeps us chained to the remnants of our tyrannous past.
Let us break those chains and know our past, particularly the principles of our forefathers like Aglipay, and show that like many great nations, we too with these principles, can chart our course and carve our destiny as a nation and people.
JULIUS D. TURGANO,
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