Remembering Rizalâs martyrdom
(From left) Consul General Rene Villa, National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairman Rene Escalante and Economic Minister JV Chan-Gonzaga.
Remembering Rizal’s martyrdom
THIS WEEK ON PEOPLEASIA - Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) - January 5, 2020 - 12:00am

The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. capped 2019 with a simple event to commemorate the 123rd death anniversary of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, with this year’s theme as “Jose Rizal: Huwaran ng Pilipino sa Ika-dalawampu’t Isang Siglo” (Jose Rizal: Paragon of the Filipino in the 21st Century).

Jose Rizal: Paragon of the Filipino in the 21st Century.

 Jose Rizal was a lot of many things a doctor, educator, traveler, poet, writer, polymath, polyglot but he was first and foremost a patriot, who loved this country so much that he was willing to sacrifice even his life for it.  

He was also a great reformist, who believed that change was necessary for the nation and the Filipino people to progress. Like the President, I firmly believe that we can all become agents of genuine change and contribute in our own little way to help the Philippines achieve its potential and take its rightful place among the community of nations.

Even at an early age, Rizal already knew the importance of education, writing a poem about it when he was a teenager. In fact, in one of his letters to his friend Ferdinand Blumentritt an Austrian scholar and educator Rizal said that the reason for the backwardness and ignorance of the people is “the lack of means of education. We are all human, and we can improve ourselves through education and culture.” As the saying goes, education is the great equalizer that can help a man break the chains of poverty.

Sharing a toast to celebrate the New Year.

 With us during the celebration at the Philippine Embassy was National Historical Commission chairperson Rene Escalante, who gave a briefing about the quincentennial of the celebration of the first circumnavigation of the world by the Magellan expedition, the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, and the victory of Lapu-Lapu in Mactan. This quincentennial, which will culminate in April 2021, is an international celebration organized by Spain and Portugal, and the other countries and cities where the historic expedition docked. 

 Other consulates general in the US also commemorated the martyrdom of Jose Rizal, like the Philippine Consulate General in New York, which partnered with the Knights of Rizal-New York Chapter. Joining Consul General Claro Cristobal was Court of Appeals Associate Justice and Knights of Rizal supreme commander Elihu Ibanez, who noted that it was the heroism of Rizal in the face of death that inspires many, and that what is really significant is not how Jose Rizal died but how he lived.

Exhorting everyone to emulate Rizal’s example especially his patriotism.

 

JOSE RIZAL
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