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Lapu-Lapu’s heroism still relevant in modern society

(The Freeman) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  While Lapu-Lapu’s heroism took place 500 years ago, his deeds remain relevant to today’s society.

“Kami ni President (Rodrigo) Duterte, alam n’yo po, idol namin si Lapu-Lapu. Mataas po ang pagtingin namin sa unang bayani natin bilang kami ay mga Bisaya na nagmula sa Mindanao,” said Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.

“Sa katunayan, itinatag ni Pangulo noong 2017 ang Order of Lapu-Lapu Award bilang parangal sa kagitingan ng mga kahanga-hangang indibidwal na nagseseserbisyo sa bansa ngayon,” he added.

The Senator highlighted his and President Duterte’s high respects to the first Filipino hero and to the Visayan people, emphasizing that he is proud of his Visayan heritage.

“Hindi kailanman magbabago ang respeto at pagmamahal ko sa mga kababayan kong Bisaya. Bisaya pud ko ug garbo nako akong pagka-Bisaya,” he said.

Go said that he and President Rodrigo Duterte take from the example of Lapu-Lapu, saying that they are also willing to die while serving the Filipino nation.

“Tulad ni Lapu-Lapu, handa kami ni Pangulong Duterte na mamatay na nagseserbisyo (sa mga Pilipino),” said Go.

Go clarified a remark he made during his speech at the quincentennial anniversary commemoration in Lapu-Lapu City last April 27 where he shared accounts of Abraham Ibarani-Idjirani claiming that Lapu-Lapu has roots in Mindanao.

“Sa pagdiriwang ng ika-limandaang anibersaryo ng Victory sa Mactan sa Lapu-Lapu City kahapon, naibahagi ko sa aking talumpati ang sinabi ng isang mananalaysay na si Abraham Ibarani-Idjirani na si Lapu-Lapu umano ay Tausug din at may koneksyon sa mga ninuno natin sa Sulu. Ayon rin ito sa pananaliksik at konsultasyon na ginawa ng aking staff. Nabanggit din nang ilang beses ni Pangulong Duterte ito sa kanyang mga talumpati noon,” Go explained.

In his most recent conversation with President Duterte, Go said that even the President still believes that there is a possibility that Lapu-Lapu is a Tausug given the stories passed on by generations of the hero’s connection to Mindanao.

Nevertheless, Go admitted that facts of history may be better left for historians to determine and called on Filipinos to focus on the lessons of history that remain relevant until today.

“Ayon rin sa National Historical Commission of the Philippines, walang klarong historical record na makapagpapatunay ng totoong pinanggalingan ni Lapu-Lapu at ang mga iba’t ibang bersyon ng talambuhay niya ay itinuturing na parte na ng ating tradisyon at kultura. Lahat po ito ay nagpapayaman ng ating kaisipan at pagkatao bilang mga Pilipino,” Go highlighted.

Go already issued an apology to those who may have been offended by this story that he shared in his speech and he emphasized that he meant no disrespect to historians and the Visayan people.

“Ako po ay taus-pusong humihingi ng paumanhin kung iba ang dating ng aking naikwento. Nais kong klaruhin na buo ang aking respeto sa ating kasaysayan at wala akong intensyong baguhin ang paghanga at paniniwala natin sa buhay ng ating mga bayani,” said Go.

“Handa po akong makinig at matuto base sa kaalaman ng mga eksperto sa larangan ng kasaysayan,” he added.

Notwithstanding the debate on Lapu-Lapu’s origins, Go said that he will continue to honor the courage shown by Filipino heroes throughout history.

“Patuloy po akong magbibigay pugay sa lahat ng kagitingan na ipinakita ng ating mga ninuno sa iba’t ibang yugto ng ating kasaysayan. Kahit saan man tayo nagmula, maging Luzon, Visayas o Mindanao man iyan, iisa ang dugo na nananalaytay sa ating mga ugat. Lahat tayo ay pwedeng maging bayani sa panahong ito ng pandemya sa pamamagitan ng ating pagtulong, pagmamalasakit, at pagseserbisyo — hindi sa pagbabatikos at paghahanap ng mali sa ating kapwa Pilipino,” said Go.

National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chair Rene Escalante said that there are currently no clear historical records verifying the actual origins of Lapu-Lapu.

“‘Yun po ang nagiging problema natin nga kay Lapu-Lapu dahil napakakaunti ng kaalaman natin dito. Kasi ang nag-survive lang po talagang account tungkol dito sa Battle of Mactan ay ‘yung sinulat ni Antonio Pigafetta. Kaya lang, ‘yung sinulat n’ya ay ‘yun lang episode kung saan personally na-witness niya ‘yung Battle of Mactan,” Escalante explained.

As the country recently commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan, Go called on Filipinos to learn from the lessons of history as he likened the united efforts of modern-day Filipino heroes today in the battle against COVID-19 to the bravery of Lapu-Lapu and the unity of his people in defending their freedom and way of life. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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