Celso, Beng, Erbie lead Rizal Day rites PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 14:20

Mayor Celso Lobregat and House Representatives Beng Climaco and Erbie A. Fabian yesterday led the local commemoration of the 116th death anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, as they all paid tribute to the national hero and underscored the significance of the occasion to present times.

Jointly organized by the City Government and the Order of the Knights of Rizal-Western Mindanao Chapter, the commemoration themed “Rizalism: the Emergence of Spanish-Filipino Relations that led to Nationalism”, was well attended by representatives from the different national and local government agencies, public and private school principals, teachers and students, military and police units and numerous other sectors.

The program kicked off 7am with the flag raising ceremony followed by the floral offering at the Rizal Park in front of City Hall.  Knights of Rizal-Western Mindanao chapter commander Domingo Falcasantos splendidly recited the soul- stirring poem “Mil Ultimo Adios” or “My Last Farewell”—a performance honed and perfected every Rizal Day celebration the last 24 years.

Lobregat in his inspirational message talked about the essence of Rizal’s sacrifices and the use of his many talents and intellect to fight against the Spanish colonizers who abused and tormented the Filipino people.

He stressed Rizal’s sacrifice over a century ago stirred the Filipino’s sense of nationalism. “More than a century had passed since Dr. Jose Rizal made the ultimate sacrifice.  Yet, we are still not the free and progressive country that Rizal envisioned or hoped for. The fight against Spanish and other colonizers have long ended, but our fight as a country and people continues on.”

This year alone, he said, several parts of the country had been devastated by super typhoons—the intensity and magnitude of which is very shocking. “For years now, we have been advocating for the protection and conservation of the environment. Global warming is becoming an issue on an international scale.  However, despite the numerous appeals, many still refuse to let go of their greed.”

He pointed out: “ All of us have the capacity to become heroes in our own little ways. We can start by setting an example for others. We cannot merely pay lip service, we must walk the talk and practice what we preach. We must choose to act on the many problems that beset us instead of just waiting for something to happen.”

Nest year, he continued, the voting populace will exercise its power to choose. “We all have our own choice but I hope and pray that our decisions will be made after a careful thought. Do not merely think of the present but deliberate how the decision you make today will affect the city and country in the long run.”

“We no longer have foreign powers to blame for our problems. In fact, we cannot merely point fingers and play the blame game for everything that is wrong with our lives. Let us take a more proactive stance and strive to be the solution to our own problems”, the mayor added.

Cong. Climaco on the other hand enjoined all citizens to relive Rizal’s memory and not to fail the country. “Sometimes we hesitate at taking over greater challenges that are before us, but these opportunities are given to us and we have to take this and face this courageously”.

Like Rizal, she hoped “may we be given the challenges to carry on this responsibilities with courage and with faith that our Creator who has made us, will see us through”.

For his part, Cong. Fabian said if Rizal were alive today, the national hero would have been heartbroken and angry, as the country is still imprisoned by poverty and ignorance. This anger, he said would spur Rizal to write another novel.

“116 years after his death we celebrate life because it is a paradigm of conviction –of vision, idealism and patriotism. His divine sacrifice has become our every prayer that as a people we may experience genuine unity through peace and constructive spirit”, Fabian added.

Also present during the commemoration were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Councilors Abdurahman Nuno and Noning Biel, City Schools OIC Supt. Pete Natividad, regional directors, police and military officers, school principals and a host of others. — Sheila Covarrubias)