Friday, August 2, 2013

The Relevance and Validity of Rizal's Concepts

By: Romero, Romana and Santos.
(Rizal and the Development of National Consciousness)

Rizal’s mission and his concepts of nationalism became the rallying force of the revolutionary leaders who took over the leadership of the country when Rizal’s life tragically ended. The later leaders of the Filipinos made him their inspiration for independence. Let us now consider the validity of Rizal’s ideas in the contemporary Philippine setting.

Rizal and the Revolutionary Leaders

Rizal’s versatility and genius encouraged an array of clear guideposts – hard work, courage, vigilance, patience and perseverance. But the patience of the people long abused was waning. In his absence from manila at a period of unrest, his radical contemporaries organized Katipunan. These revolutionary leaders needed his support but they failed to get it. Rizal refused to sanction the revolutionary plan because he knew the sporadic violence and uprising would only bring death ad failure, destruction and frustration. Bonifacio, Jacinto, Aguinaldo and other revolutionists failed to see the realistic wisdom of Rizal. They wanted immediate action and prompt delivery from their sufferings at any cost. They were all willing to die for their country if need be. They were idealistic radicals and they looked up to Rizal as their main source of inspiration and guidance.

Andres Bonifacio

Classically niched as the “Great Plebeian”. He had been among the first members of La Liga Filipina. Bonifacio esteemed Rizal and his ideals. He spearheaded the revival of the Liga after its collapse in 1892 upon Rizal’s exile in Dapitan and he was most active in recruiting its members. In a short while, the Ligawas again in death throes. This time, its members split into Cuerpo de Compromisarios for the intellectual and sophisticated ones, and the KKK for the plebeians, headed by Bonifacio.

His nationalistic fervor prompted him to self-study and he read the novels of Rizal, three volumes of La Solidaridad and other politically-inspired books. His choice of literature was similar to that of Rizal, for he also read The French Revolution, The Wandering Jew, The Ruins of Palmyra, Les Misarbles, The Bible and accounts of lives of America Presidents, treatises on international law and Penal and Civil Codes.

He translated Rizal’s poem Mi Ultimo Adios entitled as “Pahimakas”. Rizal’s concepts circulated among the members of the Katipunan. His portrait was displayed at the Katipunan headquarters. The Katipunan letterhead listed Rizal as its honorary President. In organization, the Katipunan leaned heavily on the Liga. There were provisions for a hierarchy of councils, corresponding to national, provincial and municipal levels of government. Unknown to Rizal, the Katipunan was inspired by his very spirit and ideas.

            Bonifacio and his adviser, Emilio Jacinto, prepared a separate drafts to serve as the founding and sustaining documents of the Katipunan. Bonifacio wrote Gagawin ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Duties of the Sons of the People) and Jacinto was responsible for the Kartilla ng Katipunan (Katipunan Primer).

Emilio Jacinto

Of all the Filipino heroes who came after Rizal, Emilio Jacinto alone has been described as the “Rizaline soul” whose intelligence and enthusiasm directed the Katipunan. Bonifacio saw in him the “soul of that society.”

His moral and literary model was Rizal. He scrutinized the Noli and Fili , Rizal’s articles in La Solidaridad, and the annotation of Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas. He tried to walk in the footsteps of his model. And in his adulation of Rizal, Jacinto volunteered to rescue the hero from his cabin on board the Castilla as the Revolution spread out in 1896.

The Rizaline soul kept on writing . He prepared a commercial code, Samahan ng Bayan sa Pangangalakal, (Commercial Association of the People). He put a glossary of noble tracts called Liwanag at Dilim (Light and Darkness), which served as Revolutionary code. He edited, and later put out singlehandedly, the Katipunan newspaper Kalayaan.  

Emilio Aguinaldo

After the execution of Bonifacio, Aguinaldo assumed leadership of the Katipunan. Cognizant of his limited education, Aguinaldo did not hesitate to sound out the opinions of his contemporaries like Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, Felipe Buencamino, Cayetano Arellano, Pedro Paterno and Antonio Luna. He had the insight and wisdom that these men could lend to the government that was thrust into his hands at Tejeros, while he battled the Spaniards.
He initiated the project to consult Rizal in Dapitan about the impending revolution. Rizal recommended the promotion of Antonio Luna in the ranks, against the unanimous dissent of the Revolutionary Cabinet headed by Apolinario Mabini.

Apolinario Mabini

A die-hard nationalist and philosopher, Mabini was also the intellectual and moral leader of the revolution. To him, Rizal was the most eloquent example of the triumph of duty over personal convenience of idea over physical force, of virtue over egoism.   

Mabini was among the Filipino intellectuals who worked for the assimilation of the Philippines as a regular province of Spain. He remained a pacifist during the first phase of Revolution (1896-1897). However, the events at Biyak-na-Bato and their consequences changed his mind and joined the Revolution.

Like Rizal, he did not believe the Americans and warned his compatriots. His major literary works are El Verdadero Decalogo, Programa Constitucional de la Republica Filipina and Ordenanzas de la Revolucion defined his social, moral and political ideas.


The Rizaline concept had achieved several goals that Rizal had engendered: among them are the recognition of and respect for the fundamental rights of his people, sovereign independence and the adoption of a united Filipino nation.

How well have we fared in building that nation envisioned by Rizal? To answer this question a review of the developments in the emergence of that nation in the 20th century is at hand.

A.     Philippine Nationalism During the American Period

Since armed resistance against the Americans proved futile, the Filipinos capitulated. The Americans offered a reasonable policy rooted in the recognition of individual freedom and equal opportunities and mutual cooperation in their subtle colonialism. This cooperation had forged an enduring political and educational partnership.

B.     Nationalistic Movements and Leaders During the Commonwealth Era

The formal promise of independence inspired and further united the Filipinos. The administration of the Commonwealth was led by Manuel Luis Quezon, Sergio Osmena, Claro M. Recto, Manuel Roxas, Juan Sumulong, Jose P. Laurel and several other nationalists. Led by Claro M. Recto, the constitutional convention drafted the 1935 Constitution.

C.     Japanese Occupation: A Crucial Test of Nationalism

In the face of insurmountable threats to national survival, Jose P. laurel ably managed to sustain the spirit of unity, emphasize the importance of racial pride and identity and keep aflame the torch of freedom in the hearts of his people, without antagonizing the Japanese authorities or needlessly provoking maltreatment of his people.

D.    Recognition of Philippine Independence

Filipino leaders had restored their freedom after World War II and led the Filipinos after the establishment of Third Republic of the Philippines (Roxas to Present Administration).

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