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How many more lives must be sacrificed before the people would act and put an end to violence in the society?

Senator Leila de Lima, a human rights advocate, raised this question on Friday as she called on the people to reflect on the lessons of Dr. Jose Rizal, who was executed by firing squad at the Luneta on Dec. 30, 1896.

In her message on the commemoration of Rizal’s martyrdom, De Lima cited this quote from Elias, a character in Rizal’s novel, “Noli Me Tangere”: “Mamamatay akong hindi man lang makikita ang ningning ng bukang-liwayway sa aking Bayan. Kayong mga makakakita, salubungin ninyo siya at huwag ninyong kalimutan ang mga taong nalugmok sa dilim ng gabi.”

(I will die without seeing the glow of dawn in my country. Those of you who will see it, welcome it and forget not those who are in the darkness.)

Like Elias, De Lima said, Rizal gave up his life for the love of his country and for his desire to awaken Filipinos about the abuses of the people in power.

Sa paggunita natin ngayong araw sa kadakilaan at kabayanihan ni Gat Rizal, inaanyayahan ko kayong magnilay sa aral na iniwan ng ating Pambansang Bayani. Tayong nakakita ng liwanag mula sa madidilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan; tayong nabiyayaan ng pagkakataong makapagsarili; tayong tumatamasa ng kalayaang diniligan ng dugo at ibinunga ng sakripisyo ng mga bayaning Pilipino, ay may tungkuling pangalagaan ang Inang Bayan, upang hindi na muli pang pagharian ng mga ganid at lasing sa kapangyarihan,” the senator said.

(As we commemorate the heroism of Gat Rizal, I invite you to reflect on the lessons left by our National Hero. We who see the light in the the dark chapters of our history, we who are blessed with sovereignty, we who enjoy the freedom born out of the blood and sacrifices of Filipino heroes have a duty to protect our Motherland so that it won’t fall into the hands of the power-hungry.)

Tandaan sana natin: Hangga’t may nagbubulag-bulagan sa katotohanan, magpapatuloy ang panlilinlang at pang-aabuso ng ilan; hangga’t marami ang nananahimik, laging mangingibabaw ang takot at dahas. Ilang Rizal o Elias pa kaya ang mapapatay, ilang musmos o inosenteng sibilyan pa ang madadamay, bago tayo kumilos at mahinto ang karahasan sa ating lipunan?”

(Let’s keep in mind: As long as there are those who turn a blind eye on the truth, the lies and abuses of some will continue; as long as many choose to remain silent, fear and violence shall reign. How many Rizals or Eliases will die, how many children and innocent civilians will be caught in the crossfire before we make a move and stop violence in society?)

De Lima has been vocal against what she described as abuse of power by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, who has accused her of involvement in illegal drugs.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, described Rizal as a “millennial” of his era and a “multi-tasker,” being a writer, a doctor, and a teacher at the same time.


Wala pang 25 ang edad ni Ka Pepe nang isulat niya ang Noli Me Tangere, ang nobelang naglantad sa mapaniil at katawa-tawang kalagayan ng mga Pilipino noong ika-19 na siglo. Parang ‘millennial’ din siya noong panahon niya. Millennial na may pakialam,” Pangilinan said in a statement.

(Ka Pepe was had not even reached the age of 25 when he wrote ‘Noli Me Tangere,’ the novel that revealed the pathetic situation of the Filipinos in the 19th century. He was like a ‘millennial’ during his time. A millennial who was socially aware.”

He said Rizal did what he had to do for the country despite being called a “hypocrite,” “sensitive” and “rebel.”

Hindi dapat mamatay para ituring tulad ni Ka Pepe (You need not die to be like Ka Pepe),” Pangilinan said, citing the modern day heroes like the overseas Filipino workers and those facing the daily challenges of poverty and inequality in the country.

Joining the commemoration, Senator Loren Legarda called on Filipinos to emulate the values and principles of Rizal, especially his nationalism.

“Dr. Jose Rizal was an unparalleled visionary whose thoughts and actions changed the landscape of our identity as Filipinos. His ideas began the revolution that earned us our freedom, and his integrity and nationalism continue to inspire new generations,” Legarda said in a separate statement.

Just like Rizal, she said, Filipinos also possessed a resilient spirit that enables them to weather challenges, even the worst economic and social conditions.

“Even after experiencing the worst disasters, Filipinos find reason to smile and laugh, help others even if they are victims too, and immediately go about their business and it is something to be proud of,” she said.

“Rizal was the epitome of strength and resiliency and overcame the monumental challenges he faced as we know from our nation’s history. He drew strength from his family, his faith and his beloved nation. I hope Filipinos would follow his example.”

Legarda also renewed her call for Filipinos to respect and preserve the nation’s heritage,   saying Rizal himself had expressed the need to embrace one’s roots.

She said Rizal loved his native tongue even while he was fluent in several foreign languages, recognized the exceptional artistry and craftsmanship of Filipinos, and was fond of indigenous Philippine textiles. Many of his works, she said, also described the beauty of the Philippines and its people.

“Like Dr. Rizal, we, too, should take pride in our heritage. We will be more confident of ourselves if we know who we are and if we understand our roots. We must all strive to know about our heritage, appreciate it and preserve it for the future generations,” the senator added. CDG


SOURCE:INQ
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