Rizal Day is a day of appreciating the national hero Jose Rizal "as a hero, an icon and a perfect example on how to be a Filipino".
This was the message of Mayor Belen T. Fernandez to the people of Dagupan City on the 120th year anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal, delivered at the foot of the national hero's monument at the city plaza.
"We are always gathered here the same day every year because we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are all his heirs to a freedom that we enjoy today".
History and Filipiniana sections in libraries lay bare all information about who he Rizal is. Rizal is extremely and diversely talented, well-travelled, an expert in 22 languages, and nothing less of a genius, said Fernandez in a speech read for her by City Administrator Atty. Fatah Decano in a program in front of Rizal's monument.
She said Rizal led the Philippine revolution through his writings mainly the Noli Me Tangere, published in Berlin; and El Filibusterismo, novel satires exposing and criticizing Spanish clergy.
"I stand here today fancying the thought that not only does the entire country honor him at the precise moment that I speak today, but this honor is replicated all over the world -- in the United States, in Berlin, in Riyadh, in Geneva, in Japan, in Mexico," the mayor said.
With the might of his ideas and writings, she said, Rizal awakened and moved the Filipinos' ancestors towards reclaiming freedom and dignity. It is heartwarming to note that Rizal also inspired nationalist ideas even in Mexico.
All these show how he is respected and admired by so many people around the world, she added.
"If by his ideas and patriotic writings he was able to inspire and unite people from other nations, let this day always remind us Filipinos of the values that tie us together, and of the work that needs to be done to continue our nation's progress," Fernandez said.
Here in Dagupan, she said, the local government is laying the cornerstones for new school buildings and classrooms and special facilities in many public schools throughout the city.
"We have built school buildings, classrooms, multi-purpose gymasiums in Carael, Bonuan, Dagupan City National High School, East Central Elementary School and the list goes on. We have built a new library hub, special school for the arts and a new Youth Center is currently in the pipelines," Fernandez said.
"For me, this is one way to perpetuate and honor Rizal by providing our children the means, the methods and the venue to improve themselves and to usher social transformation through education. When we honor our children through education, we honor Rizal because he values the impact of knowledge on social transformation," she added.
Other speakers in the Rizal Day rites were retired SPO4 Dionisio Bolor, past Grand Knight 6303, who said Rizal was known not only for his character but also for his intelligence, as he was able to read the bible age of five and was a physician, writer, poet, painter, sportsman, chemist, educator, economist, traveler, linguist who spoke 22 different languages.
Apart from these, he was also courageous and patient, Bolor said.
Dr. Lourdes Servito, assistant city schools superintendent, said that although already a genius, Rizal has not stopped searching for more knowledge locally and abroad.
The celebration was capped by the flying of balloons and the singing of patriotic songs.
Source: Philippines News Agency