THE Municipal Government of Guagua, Provincial Government of Pampanga and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) commemorated the 150th birth anniversary of Kapampangan hero Aurelio Tolentino at Manuel P. Santiago Park, Plaza Burgos in Guagua town.

National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario led the unveiling of the historical marker and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Plaza Burgos in Guagua town together with Guagua Mayor Dante Torres and Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

A revolutionary, playwright, fictionist, and poet, Aurelio Tolentino was born on October 13, 1867 in Sto. Cristo, Guagua, Pampanga to Leonardo Tolentino and Petrona Valenzuela.

An active member of the Katipunan, he engaged in revolutionary activities and joined Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto and other Katipuneros to plan the revolution against Spain. Tolentino is also one of the signatories of the Declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898.

During the American occupation he expressed his nationalism through his writings which openly criticized the United States government in La Independencia, La Patria and El Liberal.

Tolentino also wrote dramas, his most famous work “Kahapon, Ngayon, at Bukas,” an allegorical attack on the American colonization.

Tolentino’s fearless works that illustrates the injustices of colonial rule caused his many tortures and imprisonments. He died on July 1915 and was buried at the North Cemetery. Later, his remains were transferred to Guagua in 1921.

In his remarks, Mayor Torres expressed hope that the new generation will produce more Aurelio Tolentinos in articulating the love for Guagua and the country through writing and other forms of arts.

He also said that the event may serve as an inspiration to everybody to help sustain our freedom and be part of the country’s pride.

Board Member Henson, who represented Governor Lilia Pineda, called on everybody to contemplate on the examples shown by Tolentino through the history, which is to stand for what is right and just. He also requested the KWF to republish Tolentino’s works to be distributed to Kapampangan students.

Representative Arroyo, meanwhile, congratulated the town for producing a number of heroes who had significant contributions for the country.

She also acknowledged Tolentino’s efforts as a writer, orator, and for being one of the early members of Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galang na Katipunan nang mga Anak nang Bayan.

Chairman Almario said the efforts made by Tolentino is at par with Rizal’s and Bonifacio’s and is recognized by the Commission and all of the townspeople.

He also said that Tolentino stayed true to the Cartilla ng Katipunan and was evident in his writings and plays. (PR)