R.A.1956 — Rizal Law already forgotten? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 28 May 2016 14:16

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

 

In 1956, then senator Claro M. Recto sponsored a bill that was enacted into law, but not easily. The dominant Catholic Church was vehemently opposed to the Rizal Law because it mandates that the two books of national hero Jose P. Rizal,  Noli Me Tangere ( touch me not) and the El Filibusterismo (The Filibuster), be taught in both private and public schools. The Catholic Church was totally against that it be taught in schools because it will expose the “sins” of the Catholic Church as what Jose P. Rizal wrote, which caused his eventual ex-communication from the Catholic religion and later arrested, imprisoned and executed by a firing squad at Bagumbayan now Luneta or Rizal Park. Republic Act 1956 was only approved into law when Senator Claro M. Recto agreed that Rizal’s two books only be thought in college and not in high school. The rest is history. (Thank you to my friend, Rey Quisombing in Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur, a graduate of UP Los Banos College of Agriculture, who is a very successful farmer, whose tecnique of integrated farming, raising livestock, vegetables, fruit trees and hi-breed tilapia fishpond, earned him I was informed, a million pesos per hectare aside from his popular restaurant  the “Kan anan sa Balsa” serving tilapia and crab delicacies, native chicken and young coconut juice and meat and his new discovery, hot garlic oil. All what  he serves in his restaurant come from his farm in Barangay Sayaw, highway going to Zamboanga City and part of the municipality of Kumalarang) I was fascinated with his FB download of the Rizal Law, being a political science graduate. In political science, culture and religion can never be separated from politics.

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I read Noli Mi Tangere when I was in third year high school. My father Antonio Vera Apostol from San Carlos City, Pangasinan, a public school teacher from the old school and sent by the American Commonwealth Government, to teach Subanen IP in Lapuyan,  Zamboanga Del Sur, brought with him a copy of Noli Mi Tangere, translated in English. It took me 2 days to read the paper-bound copy. It was one novel that when you read it you don’t want to stop until the last chapter.

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If I remember right and correct me if I am wrong, since that was a long time ago, Noli Mi Tangere is about the influence of the Catholic Church into the family. The main actors were Crisostomo Ibarra, a Filipino illustrado, educated by the Spaniards, and his girlfriend Maria Clara and a Dominican priest, Friar Damaso. The Dominican priest interfered with almost anything in the Filipino family and a total reverence to the Catholic Church that no Filipino is allowed to question and disobey. It was believed in the book that the beautiful Maria Clara was sired by Friar Damaso. No feast or excursion by Filipino youths can happen without the approval of the Friars who are the authorities and government. Noli Mi Tangere is a novel of love, intrigues and the abuses of the Dominican friars in the Philippines, whose institution is the Universidad De Santo Tomas (UST).

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The El Filibusterismo is a continuation of Noli Mi Tangere, that because of those abuses by the friars, they formed a secret group and started the struggle in the countryside and some of those “Ilustrados” either went abroad and exiled exposed the Spanish friars abuses and fueled  an armed struggles by Filipino peasants who were not allowed to have an education. Jose P. Rizal called them “Indios” or the illiterates who formed the bulk of Filipinos. It wrote of the execution of the “Indios” mercilessly when they were caught or suspected as members of the underground movement against the Spaniards. Catholic religion preaches to all Filipinos that to tell a lie  is a mortal sin and illiterate Filipino Catholics always tell the truth. The Spanish friars took advantage of this situation by instituting the confession in the church. Because of this new Spanish friars’ tactics, many underground rebels were arrested and executed. Even wives, family members or relatives begun pointing even their husbands who were members of the underground movement and many were executed. The Spanish friars adopted the reign of “juez de Cuchillo” against Filipino rebels. Jose P. Rizal exposed all of these Spanish friars and authorities abuses in El Filibusterismo and many illiterate Filipinos knew the truth since the book was secretly distributed to educated Filipinos to inform poor “Indios” on the reality of the situation.

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Table Talk wonders if the Rizal Law is still implemented in colleges and if there are still copies of Noli Mi Tangere and El Filibusterismo in our bookstores and school libraries. Try to read them it will awaken our senses as to what is happening today with the elites ruling our country. The difference is the same the only difference is the setting. The Catholic Church is not anymore ruling their flocks with an iron hand but how they are treating their believers is almost the same unless you are a “pichon del padre” as what Catholics term them.

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Table Talk believes in God, and prays to God. But,certainly I don’t follow blindly what the church says. They are hypocrites who believe they are always right when it comes to the discussion of God because they are always attending mass and church services. President Rodrigo R. Duterte is right. Someone with his status should question the Catholic Church for “too much interference” like the friars in Noli Mi Tangere. Those who opposed it, go to church again, because it is believed “that a church is a hospital for sinners and not a museum of saints”, a nice message from a wise man.

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Scoop: “Religion has done love a great service by making it a sin “ ( Anatole France). Agree or disagree.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 May 2016 17:51