President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio at the Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City on Saturday (November 30) with the theme: “Bonifacio: Dangal at Kabayanihan.” (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio at the Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City on Saturday (November 30) with the theme: “Bonifacio: Dangal at Kabayanihan.” (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – A lawmaker has formally proposed to declare the 20th of every September as National Young Martyrs’ Day to commemorate the martyrdom of the youth who offered their lives for national liberation and social change.

Rep. Terry L. Ridon (Party-List, Kabataan) filed House Bill 4755 also known as the Young Martyrs’ Day Act of 2014, seeking to remember the martyrdom of the youth who, beyond mere words, took the initiative and made their ultimate sacrifice.

Ridon said that commemorating the lives of young martyrs should kindle the patriotic spirit of young Filipinos to work and struggle for social change beyond the confines of their classrooms and their homes.

“Our nation was founded on the blood of many young Filipino martyrs – from the youths that joined national hero Jose Rizal in the Propaganda Movement, to the brave youths who fought valiantly in the Katipunan alongside Andres Bonifacio,” Ridon said.

“As we set a date to commemorate the life and times of young martyrs, let us also remember the guerrillas who persisted in the resistance against the Japanese invaders, many of whom were in the prime of their youth,” Ridon said.

Further, Ridon explained that September 20 of every year is the date to remember the martyrdom of the youth because of its historic significance to the national youth movement during Martial Law days.

“It was the date when renowned Martial Law era youth leader and activist Edgar Jopson was captured by the military in Davao City and was shot numerous times until he died,” Ridon said.

According to Ridon, during these turbulent times, many youths – like Jopson – were left with no choice but to go underground to continue their campaign against the dictatorship, choosing to fight in far-flung provinces at a time when military might reigned supreme.

Ridon also explained that the actions of the youth may hinder us from recognizing them as heroes, but we should contextualize their heroism as manifestation of their youthful response to the call of their time, an era when the nation was confronted by massive poverty under the tyrannical dictatorship that offered the people few alternatives to change the society.

“Let us remember those youths who, in the years after the lifting of Martial Law, continued to fight for the oppressed and the marginalized even if it meant early death,” Ridon said.

“At a time when our people continue to suffer socio-economic and political crises, let our young martyrs from the past to the present serve as an inspiration to always be ready to make selfless sacrifices whenever necessary,” Ridon said.

Under the measure, the National Youth Commission (NYC), in coordination with the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and other national youth organizations, is tasked to plan, fund and execute appropriate programs and activities to carry out the aim of the commemoration.

The National Young Martyrs’ Day shall concurrently be called “Edgar Jopson Day” in commemoration of the renowned nationalist student leader who was captured and shot by the military on September 20, 1982.

The Department of Education (DepEd) shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulation in order to designate September 20 as a special day when social studies lectures in elementary and high schools shall be devoted to the teaching of the lives of young Filipino martyrs and the patriotic values that all Filipino youth must espouse. (MNS)