I THINK President Rodrigo Duterte is partly right when he said that “there is no need to celebrate and commemorate the 500 years of Christianity in the country in 2021.” It was in March 16, 1521 when the Spaniards, led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, arrived in the archipelago, specifically in Cebu and introduced Christianity.
During his visit in the City of Naga last Friday for the ground-breaking ceremony of the housing project for the landslide survivors that hit the mountain barangay in the city last year, Duterte asked, “Why should we celebrate the occasion when it was the time of the country’s subservience to a foreign power and (Spain) colonized us for over 300 years?”
“When Magellan came in the country, he brought cannons and cross and forced us to adopt their religion, which is now the Roman Catholic church. We did not have any religion back then. But because they brought cannons, cross and guns, the natives yielded and embraced their religion,” the President said.
That era was very agonizing to the Filipinos. Our great, great, great grandparents revolted and fought against the Spaniards because of their abuses and yet we embraced their religion. That is why we have national heroes like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo and so many others because they offered their lives and blood to free the country from the bondage of tyranny, oppression, slavery and dictatorship.
That is the irony of our history. We fought for our rights and for our independence and yet we embraced and practiced their religion, beliefs and even their attitudes and character.
Celebrating and commemorating the occasion when our independence and freedom died is just like remembering the declaration of Martial Law. Will you celebrate a very “sad and heartbreaking” occasion in your life? That is the question.
But I suspect that the stand of the President is born out of his conflict with the Roman Catholic hierarchy. As we know, the chief executive has been lambasting church leaders because of their negative stand on his anti-drug campaign, especially on extra-judicial killings. Well, just let the church celebrate that occasion if they want.
Republic Act 6953 is “An act declaring Sept. 9 of every year a special non-working public holiday in the city of Cebu and the province of Cebu with its component cities and a special working public holiday in the rest of the country in honor of the late President Sergio Osmeña Sr., amending thereby Batas Pambansa 937.
Sergio Osmeña y Suico (Sept. 1878-1961) served as fourth President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. He was the vice president of Manuel L. Quezon and rose to the presidency upon the death of Quezon in 1944 at the age of 65. Prior to his presidency, he served as governor of Cebu from 1901 to 1907. Then, from 1907 to 1922, he became Speaker of the House of Representatives and a senator.
He was the patriarch of the Osmeña political clan, including his son Serging Osmeña Jr., and grandsons like former senators Sonny Osmeña and Serge Osmeña, former governor Lito Osmeña and “has-been” mayor Tomas Osmeña. Maayong tawo daw to si Don Sergio. Dili arogante og abusado. Wala to siya mangyatak ug barbecue, wala mangguba og opisina ug manguha ug inidoro.