RIZAL: Mirror of Heroism for Today’s Youth and Beyond
by Gil Camporazo
“Was his death in vain?”
Opened up Father Hubert M. Javellana, director/principal of Pax Academy, Diocese of La Carlota City, his “eye-opening” message at the plaza of La Carlota before a limited number of government officials, the city employees, school principals, teachers, students, and civic organizations representatives, who were celebrating the 114th death anniversary of Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero, Thursday, December 30, 2010.
Elucidating on this year’s celebration theme, “Rizal, Haligi ng Bayan” (Rizal the pillar of the Nation), Fr. Javellana pointed out “two salient ideas” or reasons why Rizal be qualified as our pillar in nation building. These are Rizal’s dream and conviction.
Rizal’s dream is Filipinos may live as free people like any other for they are created by a God who is love. Fr. Javellana cited a portion of Rizal’s letter to the Young Women of Malolos, that reads: “all men are born equal, naked, without bonds. God did not create man to be a slave; nor did he endow him with intelligence to have him hoodwinked, or adorn him with reason to have him deceived by others.”
The political system of Rizal’s time, which made him vocal for what is right, Fr. Javallena said, expressed that “a conquered country like the Philippines should not be taken advantage of, but rather should be developed, civilized, educated and trained in the science of self-government.”
He enumerated Rizal’s Political Philosophy, which expressed “the apparent backwardness of the Spanish ruler’s method of governing the country,” namely: “ the bondage and slavery of the conquered, the Spanish government’s requirement of forced labor and force military service upon the relatives, the abuse of power by means of exploitation, the government ruling that any complaint against the authorities was criminal, and making the people ignorant, destitute and fanatic, thus discouraging the formation of a national sentiment.”
Accordingly, Rizal’s guiding political philosophy has proved to be the study and application of reforms, the extension of human rights, the training for self government and the arousing of spirit of discontent over oppression, brutality, inhumanity, sensitiveness and self love. Rizal, Fr. Javellana said, envisioned only one solution to these perplexed situations, and that is EDUCATION. In Rizal’s Indolence of the Filipinos – La Solidaridad, it was pointed out that “without education and liberty, which are the soil and the sun of man, no reform is possible; no measure can give the result desired.” The backwardness of the country during the Spanish era, Rizal maintained, was not due to the Filipinos’ indifference, apathy or indolence as claimed by the rulers, but to the neglect of the Spanish authorities in the islands. For Rizal, the mission of education is to elevate the country to the highest seat of glory and to develop the people’s mentality. Since education is the foundation of society and a prerequisite for social progress, only through education could the country be saved from domination, Rizal claimed.
Fr. Javellana firmly believed Rizal’s Philosophy of education which centers on the provision of proper motivation in order to bolster the great social forces that make education a success, to create in the youth an innate desire to cultivate his intelligence and give him life eternal.
Since Rizal’s dreams and convictions brought with him till his death at Bagumbayan, Fr. Javellana told then asked, “Did these seeds grow now in us?” ”The pearl is thrown to the pigs,” lamented Javellana. He cited some realities why this was so. It is people’s mediocrity, which “be speaks of our early defeat in the battle” as what we are now experiencing a s a nation. Once we were considered as a great nation in Asia. Now where are we over those fellow Asians who then were sleeping before. We have allowed ourselves to be left behind. We let go of our grand destiny. We Filipinos have nobody else to blame for our miserable condition but ourselves. Both our leaders and we the citizens have a collective responsibility for our country’s prosperity and decline. We are accountable to the next generation following us.
Fr. Javellana’s solution: We Filipinos can change our destiny if only we resolutely and sincerely desire to do so. Our future is in our hands. We can bounce back as a people. But the speed and quality of our recovery will depend on our passion for excellence in everything we do. Let us check our motivation in doing things, is it for gain, for self glorification, or for the good of God, our country, our nation. So long as we stagnate over the first two options, we will still be slaves. Yes, money and prices are necessary. Yet those are not all. They will even come as rain if we do our share considering the common good at first. However, if we embrace the last choice, for God, the country and our fellow, we will find meaning for our actions. We shall strive for excellence, for we know we shall pass this life but once.”
Upon seeing a handful presence of the youth, Fr. Javellana was abashed. Where are they? It is an insult for Rizal who strongly believes that the youth is the hope of his Fatherland. Anyway, Fr. Javellana prodded and challenged everyone: “Let us not extinguish the fire of devotion of our national hero and his companions. Let us create new pillars from the roots of the existing ones. Let us make these pillars stronger founded in firm values in life. Let us stop immoralities in us and in our society. Let us stop sipping the blood of our fellow by the different forms of corruption, dishonesty, and injustices. Let us stop being tardy and truant in our work. Let us end the game of the cat and the mouse. Let us stop complaining that it is difficult to do, when we have not given yet our best. Let us stop criticizing when we have not done our share. We shut up our mouths when we have nothing pleasing to say.”
Moreover, he said: for the young professionals who are always saying I am tired because of the bulk of work to be done, do not hesitate to tender now your resignation letter to your employer. You are no longer an asset but a parasite. For you students who are here, do not be contented with the lowest passing grade of 75 in your grades. Strive without reservation to study very well for with becoming learned you become free. You are now facing a global competition where the mediocre has no place on it. Let us all declare together to stop saying: “Ti okey na man lang ina. Sige ipas na kay deadline subong!” We must cooperate to turn this country around; otherwise there will be no more future to speak for our children.
He especially addressed his fellow educators who were present to bank on them for the rising of the new generation for education is the solution to the many problems as Rizal would say or even our former DepED Secretary Lapus said “Education is the solution.” He counseled them to inspire the young to love their country and their fellow, to teach history (lives) of their heroes in a way where students get or don’t get bored but are enlivened to imitate them or even do more in their own ordinary ways.
“Rizal, Haligi ng Bayan, what can we give you back after all? We do not want your dreams and convictions to be in vain. We pledge to start anew with a conviction for excellence rooted in our self-discipline and love for God, our country and our fellow men. And for this we say, RISE UP PHILIPPINES AND MOVE FORWARD THE NEW DAWN IS COMING,” Fr. Javellana concluded.