It was the Americans who pushed for the designation of Jose Rizal as Philippine national hero to perpetuate hatred against Spain. It was Governor Taft who in 1901 suggested to the Philippine Comission that the Filipinos be given a national hero. Taft with other American colonial officials and some Filipino collaborators chose Rizal as a model hero over others. Governor Forbes wrote that the American Administration has lent every assistance to the recognition, setting aside of the death anniversary, day of observance, placing of picture on the postage stamp, on the currency and the teaching to young Filipinos in school the reverence as the greatest of Filipino patriots of Rizal. Forbes appraised the value of Rizal as somebody who never advocated independence nor armed resistance to the government. Rizal preferred reform from within by publicity, by public education and appeal to public conscience. During the Spanish time, he preferred representative for the Philippines in the Spanish parliament and achieve exposing of corruption. When the revolution broke out in the Philippines, Rizal offered to serve the Spanish government in Cuba. Rizal fits in the Americans objective for us Filipinos to have an alienated identity and defense syndrome to weaken our resistance and maximize their control on us. Rizal was safely dead by the time of American invasion. No anti-American quotations could ever be attributed to him. Rizal can be valuable to the Americans to, “draw the line of fire away” from them and towards our former Spanish rulers. The Americans were drawing the line of our fire away from them and towards their other enemy, the Spaniards from whom we have already achieved our independence. The Americans specially emphasized the fact that Rizal was a reformer, not a separatist. He could therefore not be invoked on for Filipino independence nor be a rallying point in resistance against the American invaders.[1] [2]

On the other hand, the Americans found in Bonifacio, dangerous model. Bonifacio stood for the use of armed might in attaining independence and freedom. For the Americans, therefore, to promote the Bonifacio cult was to defeat their own purpose of discouraging the Filipinos from taking up arms against them. It is only in the Philippines were the leader of the liberation forces is not the national hero.[3]

I am not questioning the sincerity, the patriotism or the quality of Rizal. I am just echoing the appraisal of many of us Filipinos who also studied our history that all of us also consider other Filipino heros among us for reviewing and analysing their values in our development us a nation.[4]

There is Bonifacio who inspite of the spanish blood running in the veins of his mother as well as his poverty, organized the movement of independence against the Spanish Government in the Philippines.[5] [6]

There is Ricarte who fought for independence from late 19th century, the time we were still under the Spanish government, to the time the Americans invaded us, the time the Chinese have penetrated our economic resources, until he died in the mid twentieth century, the time the Americans have removed the superficial component of their invasion after they have replicated their invasive activities deep within our heritage and institutional
level.[7] [8]

There is Antonio Luna who belonged to the illustrado class. He is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts from Ateneo with highest honors, a Doctor of Pharmacy from Universidad Central de Madrid, and who studied military tactics and strategy under General Leman in Belgium. He volunteered for the defense system of the Philippines toward the end of July 1898. He organized our Academia Militar, prepared the strategic defense plan of the Philippines against the Americans, led several operations against the American forces, imposed a high standard of discipline among us Filipino soldiers and was treacherously killed by the men of Aguinaldo who was an incompetent and compromising commander.[9] [10]

We do not need at this time, a Filipino Image infected by foreign invaders. They have only resulted to the injuring of our heritage. These foreign invaders-- heritage injuring virus, replicated themselves in our educational system that have been paralyzing our defense system against their control of us today. We do not need at this time people who are merely working for change for good government as if we are normal and not at all under a foreign invader replicating their invasive activities in our institutions like our presidency. We need a model to register in our learning and influence our decisions and behaviour, the love for our Filipino Nation, the recognition of who is foreign, and who is friend, just like a normal immune system of a biological body. Only then can we recognize the invasive elements who are causing the divertion of our resources away and the damaging of our nation. Only upon recognition, can we start resisting the virus corrupting the system of our Filipino Society. And only then can we wholly liberate ourselves as well as our brother soldiers now in prison, from the cluthes of corruption that have been depriving us of our freedom to live for and to love our brother Filipinos.

José Miguel Garcia

[1] CONSTANTINO, Renato, Insight & Foresight, Foundation for Nationalist Studies, Quezon city, 1977 pp. 27-30
[2] JOAQUIN, Nick, A Question of Heroes, 1977, pp. 53-55
[3] AGONCILLO, Teodoro A. 1990. History of the Filipino People. Quezon City: Garothech Publishing, p.160
[4] CONSTANTINO, Renato, 1977, Insight & Foresight, Foundation For Nationalist Studies, Quezon City, 23.
[5] OCAMPO, Ambeth R. "Andres Bonifacio: Old Questions and New Answers." Bones of Contention: The Bonifacio Lectures. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing Inc., 2001. P. 91.
[7] JOAQUIN, Nick, “A Question of Heroes”, 1977, pp. 209-237
[8] Webmaster's Note: Very little has been written about Gen. Artemio Ricarte, and there is only one fairly long biography, "A Biographical Sketch of "Vibora'", written by the Spanish professor J. A. Ranes. This was appended to Ricarte's Ang Paghihimagsik ng mga Pilipino Laban sa Kastila, and is being reproduced here only for educational purposes,
for students who have no access to the Book; http://www.geocities.com/valkyrie47no/ricarte_bio.htm
[10] Joaquin, Nick, “A Question of Heroes”, 1977, p170

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