Marcos: Where Have All Our Heroes Gone?

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Here’s a historical fact that will shock most Filipinos:

“The reality is that, officially, we have no heroes,” Senator Imee R. Marcos said Monday, posing the question if National Heroes’ Day is not actually a misnomer.

Little do most Filipinos know that ever since the Philippines gained independence, the government has never officially proclaimed who our national heroes really are, even if it has been taught as early as grade school that the likes of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are among them.

Marcos said that the Philippine National Heroes Committee officially recommended several people for the designation in 1995, including Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang.

However, the issue deteriorated into a debate involving regional interests that never was resolved, Marcos explained.

The only bill that sought to proclaim a national hero was filed by Bohol congressman Rene Relampagos back in 2014, urging the government to declare the reformist writer Jose Rizal as such, who advocated, fought, and died for Philippine reforms during the Spanish colonial era.

As of January 2017, the bill has remained “Pending with the Committee on REVISION OF LAWS,” Marcos said.

“What we only have are implied heroes, despite having official dates for their commemoration,” Marcos said, citing that they continue to be honored year after year during public municipal or provincial holidays.

Should the debate on national heroes resume, Marcos urged the inclusion of Macario Sakay in the roster.

Sakay was the first president of the Tagalog Republic who fought against Spanish and American colonizers in the Philippines during the early part of the 20th century.

Sakay’s negative image as a bandit was just black propaganda contrived by American colonial authorities who found it hard to subdue him, Marcos said.

Marcos added that the betrayal of Sakay by a fellow Filipino to effect his surrender to the Americans should be taught in history class.