By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

HERO. The Andres Bonifacio Monument near the Manila City Hall will be one of several sites where the founder of Katipunan, the revolutionary group that fought the Spaniards, will be honored on his 160th birth anniversary on Thursday (Nov. 30, 2023). President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. enjoined his fellow Filipinos to emulate Andres Bonifacio’s heroism and love for the country. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday urged Filipinos to emulate Andres Bonifacio’s heroism and love for the country.

In his message during the commemoration of Bonifacio’s 160th birth anniversary at the Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City, Marcos said heroism is “natural to anyone” who lets his or her heart “grow with love, concern, and understanding for their people and country”.

Marcos said the country even has “modern heroes,” including Filipino nurses and doctors, teachers, police and military personnel and overseas Filipino workers.

“Gaya nila maari nating ipagpatuloy ang nasimulan ni Gat Andres Bonifacio at tiyakin na maipapamana natin sa mga kabataan ang tunay at wagas na pagmamahal sa bayan tulad ng kanyang ipinamalas (Like them, we can continue what was started by Gat Andres Bonifacio and make sure that we can pass on to the youth the true and pure love for the country that he demonstrated),” he said in a speech delivered by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.

“Ilaan natin ang araw na ito upang pangaralan si Gat Andres Bonifacio at ang kanyang kontribusyon sa pagtataguyod ng ating pagkakakilanlan bilang Pilipino.Bukod dito,inaanyayahan ko rin ang bawat isa na tularan ang kanyang kabayanihan at pagmamahal sa bayan at ipakita ang mga ito sa ating mga pang-araw araw ng gawain (Let’s spend this day to honor Gat Andres Bonifacio and his contribution to promoting our identity as Filipinos. In addition, I also invite everyone to emulate his heroism and love for the country and display these traits every day),” he added.

Marcos said each Filipino has an “important role in the advancement of the Philippines,” noting that everyone’s participation in enriching the country’s culture, economy and society is crucial as his administration intends to establish a “new Philippines”.

Just like Bonifacio, Filipinos could also serve as “a light of hope and inspiration for our countrymen,” Marcos said.

“Sa diwa ng bayaning si Gat Andres Bonifacio, tayo ay tinatawag hindi lamang na ialay ang ating buhay para sa Inang Bayan kundi pati na ang pagbuhos ng ating kahusayan, galing, tapang at oras upang ang bawat hakbang natin ay maging ilaw ng pag-asa at inspirasyon para sa ating mga kababayan (In the spirit of the hero Mr. Andres Bonifacio, we are called not only to sacrifice our lives for the Motherland but also to show our skills, talents, courage and time so that every step we take becomes a light of hope and inspiration for our countrymen),” he said.

Marcos also honored Bonifacio for standing up for principle and defending oppressed Filipinos.

He said Bonifacio is “an ordinary Filipino who dreamed and showed extraordinary bravery, resilience, and leadership in a time of great need”.

“Ito ang dahilan kung bakit taon taon ay nagbibigay-pugay tayo sa kaniya at sa iba pang mga mamamayang nagbuwis ng buhay para sa bayan (This is the reason why year after year, we pay tribute to him and other citizens who sacrificed their lives for the country),” Marcos said.

“Kahit mahigit isa’t kalahating siglo na ang nakalipas ay nananatiling buhay pa rin ang diwa ng kanyang katauhan at ihemplo (Even though more than a century and a half has passed, the spirit of his person and example still remains alive).”

Led by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the event bears the theme, “Katungkulan at Pananagutan Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Bayan”, which emphasizes the importance of a collective approach in driving the country’s advancement and prosperity.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines also joined the commeration of the patriot’s 160th birthday.

Embody heroism in all acts

The Philippine Army (PA), meanwhile, urged all soldiers and civilian personnel under its command to “embody heroism” in all of their actions.

In a statement, PA chief Lt. Gen. Roy Galido noted the importance of mutual understanding and a unified commitment to contribute to the nation’s welfare and promote peace within the country’s borders.

In honoring Bonifacio, Galido said the PA is committed to upholding the ideals of heroism and national service.

The PA also paid homage to the “Great Plebeian” through simultaneous flag-raising and wreath-laying rites at its headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

As one of the Philippines’ national heroes, Bonifacio co-founded the Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK) in 1892 that sought to liberate the Philippines from Spanish colonial rule.

It was through the KKK’s initiative that the Philippine Revolution began. The movement ultimately led to the Philippines’ independence from Spain in 1898. (with report from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)