“Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya Sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila Gaya ng pag-ibig sa sariling lupa?
Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga, wala…”
(What love can be greater in purity and nobility than love of country? What love? No other, none…)
30 November 2017 is the 154th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio (born in 1863), and this year is the founding of the Katipunan (done 1892). It is only fitting that we mark these two events together as key landmarks in our history of struggle to attain independent nationhood.
FOR ANDRES BONIFACIO, SON OF A POOR TAILOR, WAS THE FOUNDER OF THE KATIPUNAN. THE KATIPUNAN EMBODIED HIS NOBLEST DREAMS FOR OUR PEOPLE AND COUNTRY. THE ONE SANCTIFIES THE OTHER.
HOW THE PHILIPPINE REVOLUTION BEGAN
HISTORY TELLS US THAT ON THE NIGHT OF 7 JULY 1892, BONIFACIO MET WITH A HANDFUL OF LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS AT A HOUSE IN TONDO, MA-NILA. UNDER THE FLICKERING LIGHT OF A TABLE LAMP THEY SIGNED WITH THEIR OWN BLOOD AN OATH TO FIGHT FOR THE WELFARE OF THE MOTHER-LAND.
They organized themselves into a secret society known as Kataas-taasang kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng Mga Anak ng Bayan (The Highest, Noblest Organization of the Children of the Nation, or Katipunan for short). Their aim was to separate the Philippines from Spain as an independent nation. The hurried meeting was the offshoot of the news that Jose Rizal had been arrested the previous night and banished to Dapitan in far Zamboanga.
From the night onward, the pace of events was fast. Within one year, the Ka-tipunan had spread all over Manila and was beginning to branch out into Cavite and Bulacan. By 1896, it had chapters in eight provinces, and was gathering adherents by the thousands.
Before the Katipunan was ready to strike, however, it was discovered by the Spanish authorities. On 23 August 1896, in the hills of Pugad Lawin near Balint-awak in what is now Quezon City, Boni-facio and other Katipuneros launched the Filipino revolution against Spain. The “Cry of Pugad Lawin” that Andres Bonifacio and his fellow Katipuneros declared lighted the flames of the Philippine revolution. In tearing up their cedulas or tax certificates on the day, our revolutionary forebears did not merely repudiate the claims of Spanish colonial power to their persons and their possessions. IT WAS AN ACT OF A HANDFUL OF BRAVE MEN FOR ALL OUR PEOPLE – THE 6.2 MILLION FILIPINOS LIVING THEN, AS WELL AS THE MANY GENER-ATIONS OF FILIPINOS WHO CAME AFTER THEM.
GLORY AND GRIEF, TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY
THUS THE STORY OF OUR NATIONAL REVOLU-TION BEGAN – IN THE SOIL OF SPANISH OPPRESSION AND IN THE HEART OF ONE COURAGES MAN. WHAT FOL-LOWED AFTERWARD IS A STORY OF BOTH GLORY AND GRIEF, TRIUMPH AND TRAG-EDY. And, of all the chapters of our national history, there is none more stirring than the birth of the Katipunan and the cry of Andres Bonifacio for his countrymen and countrywomen to rise up in arms. Later on would follow many griefs and tragedies of our national revolution. The execution and martyrdom of Jose Rizal. The division of the Katipunan into factions. The denial to Bonifacio of a place of honor in the organization he had founded, and his treacherous assassination in the backwoods of Cavite. Our heroes of century ago, fighting only with bolos and muskets and shedding their blood in the battlefield, dreamed of a free Philippines crowned by a full bounty of progress through the efforts of our people. At Pugad Lawin, they shattered the tranquility of colonial rule with a ringing cry for revolution. We, the heirs to the fruits of their struggle, should strive as hard to enable lasting peace to prevail in our land. We must work together to redeem their revolutionary dream by bringing our country to full modernization and to a higher place of respect and dignity in the family of nations.
WE CAN BE THE MODERN – DAY EQUIVALENT OF OUR HEROES OF A CENTU-RY AGO BY CONTRIBUTING OUR SHARE TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. IT WILL BE LESS HARD FOR US NOW BE-CAUSE WE FIGHT THE BAT-TLES WITH COMPUTERS AND CELLULAR PHONES IN OUR CLASSROOM, WORKPLACES, LABORATORIES AND MAR-KETS. YET, NO NATION AND NO PEOPLE CAN AFFORD TO BE SELECTIVE ABOUT THEIR HISTORY – CHOOSING ONLY THE PLEASANT THINGS TO REMEMBER AND TO RELE-GATE THE UNPLEASANT SIDE TO FORGETFULNESS. IT’S BEEN SAID THAT THOSE WHO DON’T REMEMBER THEIR HISTORY ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT. IN A WAY, WE ARE THE LIVING ILLUSTRA-TION OF THIS TRUTH – BY RE-PEATING THE DISUNITY AND BETRAYALS THAT SCARRED THE KATIPUNAN AND OUR PHILIPPINE REVOLUTION THROUGHOUT THIS CENTU-RY. QUARRELING OVER HOW THE PAST IS TO BE WRITTEN OF REMEMBERRED. We must learn from our history. We cannot stop merely commemorating the memory of Bonifacio and the Katipunan. To do so would be to perpetuate our past mistakes. We must sanctify and ensure our future by the examples of Bonifacio and the Katipunan. We must also derive from their memory their inspiration and purpose for our own lives today. They must energize us in facing the challenges of a new time – guarding against the pitfalls that made Bonifacio a victim, and striving to do better in the national enterprise we are now embarked upon. To this day our revolution remains unfinished. While this saying has become a cliché, reflection tells us it is so very true. Many of the hopes awakened by Bonifacio have remained unfulfilled – not least the hope that the poor masses of our nation would themselves rise to attain their well-being upon the achievement of national independence. Every time we remembered Bonifacio and the Katipunan, we must never forget that the revolution was triggered and fired by the hope of the poor for a better life.
SOME HAD TRIED TO TAKE THE REVOLUTION AWAY FROM THEM- SAY-ING THAT IT WAS AN ILLUS-TRADOS’ AFFAIR. SOME HAD SOUGHT TO APPROPRAITE BONIFACIO FOR TTHEIR OWN CAUSE AND THEIR OWN PURPPOSE.
THEY FOUGHT FOR A NATION, NOT A CLASS
ONE THING IS SO CLEAR ABOUT THE STORY OF BONI-FACIO AND THE KATIPUNAN. THEY FOUGHT FOR A NA-TION, AND NOT FOR A CLASS. THEY EXPRESSED ARDENTLY THE HOPES OF THE POOR UNDER A FREE PHILIPPINES.
But the brought into the cause other groups in our society – the educated and the affluent – and turned the revolution into the struggle of our race. Bonifacio and the Katipunan belong to no party and no class – but to all of us. Today, we are again at a critical hour in national life. Depending on how we act, our country will either prosper or falter. Depending on how we match our deeds with our brave words, this nation will enter the next decade developed and just, or dragged down as ever by crisis and disunity. What Boni-facio and the Katipunan began we must continue. And we must not allow a repeat of the mistakes and divisions of the past. As Apo-linario Mabini once observed, the Filipino nation was born in pain. Our nationhood was founded on the Blood of Martyrs, the tears of women, and the cries of the orphans. This is fitting and proper -because liberty alwayas exacts a high price from the people who seek it. Throughout our history, we filipinos have paid dearly for the liberties we now enjoy. But, as the late, great Saint Pope John Paul II reminded the young people of his own indomitable Poland, “it is what costs that constitutes value, and we do not want a Po-land which costs us nothing”. For us present-day Filipinos, our first duty in the spirit of the Cry Pugad Lawin is for us not to take our freedom as a nation for granted, but to defend our liberties against any tyrant who comes around. Our second duty is to plan and act as one national team in order to fight poverty, advance our economy, reinforce our democratic institutions, and insure our peace and development. Whenever in our continuing journey toward the future, should our resolve falter – whenever, in our eyes, the vision of what our beloved Philippines can become begins to fade – let us look back to how our story as a nation began. LET US BE IN-SPIRED BY JOSE RIZAL, MAR-CELO DEL PILAR, ANDRES BONIFACIO, APOLINARIO MABINI, AND EMILIO JACIN-TO; BY THE PRIESTS GOMEZ, BURGOS, AND ZAMORA; BY THE NAMELESS MEN AND WOMEN OF PUGAD LAWIN; BY ALL THE MARTYRS AND WARRIORS WHO WON OUR FREEDOM.
TODAY, THE GENERATIONS OF YOUNG AND OLD FILIPINOS STAND TALL – TALLER THAN OTHER PEOPLES – BE-CAUSE THEY STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF HEROES WHO WERE GIANTS. HENCE, NO ACHIEVEMENT SHOULD BE BEYOND OUR CAPACITY; NO GOAL BEYOND OUR REACH; NO ASPIRATION BEYOND OUR FULFILLMENT. WE CAN, INDEED, SEE BEYOND THE HORIZON AND REACH OUT FARTHER THAN OTHERS TO EMBRACE THE SUPREME VI-SION OF A BETTER FUTURE FOR ALL FILIPINOS.
KAYA NATIN TO!!!
By Fidel V. Ramos