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Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio

/ 12:43 AM January 02, 2016

In my humble opinion, right or wrong, it may be historically unpalatable or even embarrassing for the country to celebrate the life and memory of Andres Bonifacio on the date he was slaughtered by a group of fellow Filipino revolutionaries upon the order, reportedly, of President Emilio Aguinaldo. Bonifacio is said to have pleaded, on bended knees, with his executioners to be spared death as he preferred to die on the battlefield fighting the Spaniards.

The conflict between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo is now Philippine history. Unfortunately, till this day, Filipino politicians are repeating it. Shameful and embarrassing, indeed! But we often tend to repeat history because we tend to forget the past.

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And so, we prefer to remember Andres Bonifacio by his birth, initially a contribution from his father and mother to the historical life of our country. Even his conception, after competing with millions of other sperm cells to the finish line, was already a crucial victory for him and for the country.

On the other hand, why do we prefer to commemorate or celebrate the memory of Dr. Jose P. Rizal on the day he was killed publicly at Bagumbayan field (now known as Luneta) on orders from Spanish authorities, although the firing squad was composed of Filipinos? Because the heroism of Rizal was proven beyond reasonable doubt by his personal decision and free will to come back to the country, despite threats and warnings of imprisonment and execution at the hands of the Spanish colonizers. Rizal did not recommend fighting with arms for freedom and liberation from the powerful Spanish government at that time of our history, as he then realistically believed it was an exercise in futility and an unnecessary waste of Filipino lives.

Rizal could have opted to remain in Spain or Germany or any desirable parts of Europe or Hong Kong where the opportunities open to him were a thousand times better. Moreover, his novels, “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo,” and a farewell poem, “Mi Ultimo Adios,” are classic and immortal works of art, and they continue to inspire and motivate even now—and probably for always. In other words, the death of Dr. Jose P. Rizal was objectively more meaningful and significant than the raising of a bolo.

—AMAY P. ONG VAÑO, [email protected]

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TAGS: andres bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, History, Jose Rizal, letter, opinion, Philippine, Spanish
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