Iloilo City remembers Rizal’s patriotism, bravery

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas and UPV Chancellor Clement Camposano lead the 126th death anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal on Friday, Dec 30, 2022.  (Photo courtesy of Arnold Almacen)

By John Noel E. Herrera

The annual commemoration of Dr. Jose Rizal’s death anniversary gathered Ilonggos in the city who showed their high regard for the greatness and patriotism of the national hero.

On Friday, Dec 30, 2022, the Iloilo City Government, together with the Philippine National Police (PNP), educators, youth, and other socio-civic organizations led the commemoration of the 126th death anniversary of Rizal at Plaza Libertad where his statue is located.

University of the Philippines (UP)-Visayas Chancellor Clement Camposano, who served as the keynote speaker during the event, emphasized that Rizal gave Filipinos the confidence of accepting who and what they are, and his annotations serve as the project of nationhood and as a work in progress.

“It is not surprising at all that Rizal’s annotations were considered by scholars to be too propagandistic, and propagandists, in turn, found them too scholarly (Ocampo 1995). What was not seen by many of his critics was Rizal’s attempt single-handedly write the nation into existence. It was, above all, an act of creation–literally, of creative imagination,” he added.

Camposano also encouraged everyone to mobilize the knowledge and lessons of the past and apply it in the present, as these will serve not only as a guide, but also a foundation of the future.

“As we continue to evolve in the present, so must we revisit the story of how we came to be as a nation. Indeed, we need to share in Rizal’s intellectual audacity–we should dare to mobilize our knowledge of the past for present purposes,” Camposano said.

“Only this way can our memory of the past serve, not as a guide, but as a foundation upon which the edifice of the future will be built,” he added.

Meanwhile, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas called on Ilonggos to embody Rizal’s patriotism and dedication, as these qualities can “create a huge impact on society in general and in our beloved city in particular.”

“May this serve as an inspiration to all that we can all become modern heroes of the country by helping our fellows, by doing your own little share, by doing the best in your work, by supporting the government with projects and programs that promote sustainability, we can all be heroes,” Treñas added.

The city mayor also emphasized the importance of education, similar to how Rizal highlighted the role of education in shaping the country and creating opportunities.

“He was a man who believed that there is no substitute for education, and really education opens us to many opportunities in life and that is why programs that promote quality education have always been a priority in our local government unit. Through proper education, we will be able to acquire enough skills and knowledge that will make us achieve so many great things,” Treñas said.