Marcos: Proclaim our National Heroes Now!

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Senator Imee R. Marcos has filed Senate Bill 999 seeking to accomplish the unfinished task of proclaiming the country’s national heroes.

The bill creates a National Heroes Council within the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to select and study exceptional Filipino personages, their personal accomplishments and invaluable contribution to the nation which justify their veneration as symbols of patriotism.

“A nation that does not recognize its heroes loses hope for heroism in the future,” Marcos said Friday.

Marcos proposed that history professors and academic researchers be involved in the unfinished task of naming national heroes, assigned to a government committee in 1995.

Among the old committee’s recommendations were Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang.

The task was abandoned due to protracted debates on who else should be added to the list, how to accommodate regional sensitivities, and how to address historical controversies involving the nominees, Marcos explained.

“We must look beyond the present,” Marcos said, responding to comments that heroes are spontaneously celebrated and need not be officially proclaimed.

“Let an official proclamation of heroes today be an anchor of patriotism for Filipinos of the future,” she said. “Our youth need heroes to inspire them and for them to emulate.”

Marcos’s personal recommendation for national hero is Macario Sakay, the first president of the Tagalog Republic who was maligned by American colonial authorities as a mere bandit but who actually fought against Spanish and American occupation of the Philippines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.