LEYTE First District Representative Yedda Marie Romualdez wished the public on Friday, November 30, a “happy and meaningful Bonifacio Day,” as the entire nation commemorated the 155th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio.
“May we remember the example of the great patriot and revolutionary who displayed selfless love for our country and fought for our freedom,” said Romualdez.
Maasin City Mayor Nacional Mercado, for his part, said "the relevance of celebrating Bonifacio day is to enlighten and awaken us of the nationalism that our heroes of yesterday possess."
"It is important to instill to our youth today the spirit of nationalism that is seem to be taken for granted. It is worthy to note that consciousness is what will all take us to our aspirations of a better Philippines, thus, making awareness of the life and works of Bonifacio is of great significance. At the end of the day, may we never forget Andres Bonifacio who made freedom possible for the Philippines," he said.
Tacloban City Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin also hoped that the young generation is "not only thankful to Ka Andres Bonifacio because there is no class today but are aware and appreciative of his bravery and heroism."
Jude Acidre, the second nominee of Tingog Sinirangan partylist, said that despite the circumstances on the death of Bonifacio and other national heroes who fell into the hands of fellow Filipino compatriots, the Filipinos “celebrate them all as heroes, whether they treated each other as friends and foes.”
“It is never about black and white, never about winners-take-all. Because heroes are defined by their qualifications, not by their disqualifications,” Acidre said.
According to Acidre, Filipino leaders like Benigno Aquino Jr., Manuel Roxas, and Jose Laurel “were, at one period of history, marked as traitorous collaborators and at a later time, rising political heroes.”
“We dismiss Gen. Artemio Ricarte for his longstanding opposition to American rule, and yet salute the martyrs of Bataan who died under the American flag. We complain about the traditional politics of today, but we forget the political maneuverings of Manuel Quezon, Sergio Osmeña and Manuel Roxas,” said Acidre.
Meanwhile, in Manila, members of Teachers Dignity Coalition, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), and Sanlakas commemorated the birth of the plebian hero and “founder of the anti-colonial Katipunan movement” with protest marches.
“The plebian Bonifacio would be turning in his grave with the flowers and accolades accorded to him by the modern-day illustrados who are now in power. They praise Gat Andres to high heavens but their rabid anti-worker and anti-worker policies make life a living hell for the majority of our people,” said Benjo Basas, PLM first nominee and leader of the teacher's movement.
Basas, a public sector worker with a rank of teacher, cited “high prices, regressive taxes, lack of budget for social services, and the monopoly rule of political dynasties as electoral issues that must be tackled by candidates in the upcoming elections.”
“We honor Bonifacio and the generations of freedom fighters who fought the Marcos dictatorship imbued by the anti-colonial struggle of the Katipunan. The struggle for democracy is not over. We are ruled by political dynasties that serve the interests of foreign powers and transnational monopoly capital. We are awashed in billions of Chinese loans even as President Rodrigo Duterte toes the militarist line of America in the guise of the so-called War on Terror,” added veteran activist and Marcos political detainee Sonny Melencio of PLM.
According to lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, Sanlakas secretary general, the “ballooning public debt poses a threat to budgeting for social services such as universal and quality education up to tertiary level, genuine universal healthcare, and safe affordable public housing.”
“To increase the budget for the people’s needs, there is a need to abolish the Marcosian Automatic Appropriations Act (Presidential Decree 1177), which favors the domestic and foreign financial institutions rather than the Filipino people,” Pedrosa said in a statement.
Overseas Filipino workers group Migrante also paid respect to Bonifacio’s bravery, saying he “lived for just a little more than three decades, and yet this great revolutionary leader who rose to lead great throngs of brave warriors to demolish Spanish colonialism in the Philippines continue to inspire many generations of Filipinos in their struggle for national democracy.”
“More than a century after the withdrawal of Spanish forces, the age-old troubles of poverty and oppression continue to grip millions of Filipinos. The heinous treachery of Emilio Aguinaldo has been recurrently embodied by puppet presidents from one US-controlled regime to another,” said Arman Hernando, chairperson of Migrante Philippines.
According to Hernando, Duterte’s administration is “a perfect epitome of this Aguinaldo type of treason detested by the Filipino masses. It abominably presides over the gang rape of our country by emergent and established imperialist powers like China and the US.”
“Itching to offer his Build, Build, Build program to China, Duterte dragged the Philippines into dirty deals with big Chinese corporations. At the cost of our territorial integrity and energy security, a joint exploration deal was likewise laid down eyeing the exploitation of the rich gas reserves in the West Philippine Sea,” the Migrante leader said.
Duterte, who skipped the official ceremony in Manila, said that “like Bonifacio, let us light the flames of change that will bring about real and meaningful transformation in our nation.”