(Feature) Rizal DayThe contrasting Rizal and Bonifacio monuments in Novaliches

Novaliches, a former town now divided between Quezon City and Caloocan City, may very well be the only place in Metro Manila today with neighboring monuments of Dr. Jose P. Rizal and the Katipunan founder Andres Bonifacio.

Both located at the old Novaliches poblacion or plaza, the two monuments actually were erected nine decades apart of each other - the one memorializing Rizal in 1903 and that of Bonifacio's in 1999 or 96 years later.

Although not intentional, the positioning of the two monuments facing different directions, about 150 meters apart at a 30-degree angle, makes it appears that the country's two leading heroes were in disagreement and walking away from each other.

Dr. Rizal's monument is situated in front of the three-story Barangay Novaliches Proper along Buenamar St. On the other hand, the Bonifacio memorial is located near the Novaliches branch of the Quezon City Public Library along Quirino Highway.

The Bonifacio statue, holding a bolo in the right hand and the Katipunan flag in the left one, is facing eastward or toward the neighboring towns of Montalban (now Rodriguez) in Rizal.

The statue or Dr. Rizal, in overcoat, is facing westward or toward the former Bulacan town of Polo, Valenzuela City, renamed after Dr. Pio Valenzuela, Bonifacio's close friend and co-organizer of the Katipunan.

Visiting the two monuments on the eve of the coming observance of Dr. Rizal's120th martyrdom on Friday, Dec. 30, this writer was reminded of the historical accounts on the differing stand between Rizal and Bonifacio regarding the launching of the August 1896 uprising against Spanish rule in the Philippines.

In effect, I thought that the contrasting positions of the two heroes' monuments could best illustrate their "disagreement" on the matter of obtaining independence from Spain during their youthful years - Rizal at age 35 and Bonifacio at 33.

According to the "Himagsikang 1896 Talaarawn" (Diary) written by Z.A. Salazar, E. Yulo and A. Navarro and published by the Miranda Bookstore in 1995, Bonifacio sent Dr. Pio Valenzuela on June 15, 1896 to seek the advice of Dr. Rizal regarding the planned armed revolution against Spain. Rizal was then in exile in Dapitan in Mindanao.

On June 21, 1896, Valenzuela reported to Bonifacio about Rizal's disagreement with the planned uprising, stressing the need for adequate preparations and arms against the enemies, and to recruit war tactician Antonio Luna as a general in the revolutionary organization.

Despite Rizal's objection, Bonifacio and his brave Katipuneros, who could no longer bear the tyrannous foreign rule, launched the armed struggle inor Rizal Park in Ma August 1896. The rest is now history.

Dr. Rizal was executed on Dec. 30, 1896 by a Spanish firing squad at Bagumbayan, now the Luneta or Rizal Park.

On the other hand, Bonifacio himself was killed in Maragondon, Cavite on May 10, 1897, by a faction of the Katipunan he founded on July 7, 1892.

Meanwhile, the people of Novaliches have deplored the ongoing desecration of the Bonifacio monument in the area by numerous vendors who have been granted permits by certain officials of Novaliches District Center or Mini-City Hall to put up stalls within the old Novaliches plaza.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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