Press Release
October 17, 2008

Malvar's heroism relevant to the battle for better education

MALVAR, BATANGAS - Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon has exhorted Batanguenos here to emulate General Miguel Malvar's bravery based on principle and pride on the occasion of the latter's 143rd birth anniversary.

Gordon, the Upper Chamber's resident historian, made the exhortation as he paid tribute to Malvar, the last general of the Philippine Revolution to surrender to the Americans.

"General Miguel Malvar fought two world superpowers and most will say that he was the ultimate example of Batangueno's courage and bravery," he said, mindful that Batanguenos have always pride themselves for their bravery.

"But the real story of Malvar is the love and pride he had for his people, putting his people's welfare first before any desire for personal glory. His example calls upon us to forsake what is popular and convenient for what is right and good," he added.

Among the many issues he cited, Gordon likened the issue of filling up yearly gap in the country's public educational and health care system to Malvar's fight against the military might of Spain and America.

Gordon explained that the country must face the fact that if the battle for better education was left all to the government, the country would be fighting for a losing battle.

He said that next after paying international debts, the government allocates the largest portion of the budget to education. Despite this, he continued, there is a shortage of public schools, teachers, and teaching tools.

Gordon also pointed out that the health and nutrition of public school children are being neglected, big time - with one toilet for every 100 students, one medical officer for every 80,000 pupils, one school dentist for every 20,000 pupils and one school nurse for every 5,000 pupils.

"If we want to change and improve our public education system to match the public school systems of progressive countries, we should stop waiting for the government. Instead, we should move by ourselves to fill in the disastrous gaps in our public education system," he said.

Gordon said that is the reason why he is pushing for 'text for change" bill or the Health and Education Acceleration Program bill which would give 60 million cellphone users the power to provide public school children with enough schools, teachers, books, computers, doctors, nurses, and even food.

Commemoration rites for 143rd birth anniversary of General Miguel Malvar were held last Sept. 27, in Malvar, Batangas. The unveiling of a statue of General Malvar and Wreath Laying rites as well as a cultural presentation caps the three-day celebration.

Malvar first figured in the Philippine war against Spain when he successfully liberated Tayabas on June 15, 1898 after a two-month battle. Soon after, the Spaniards were defeated and cornered in Manila.

After Aguinaldo was captured in 1901 during the Philippine American war, the revolutionary forces came under Malvar's control. Malvar launched an all-out offensive against American-held towns. American general J. Franklin Bell took command of operations in Batangas and practiced tactics that took a heavy toll on both guerrilla fighters and civilians alike.

To keep his people from suffering more, he and his entire command surrendered to the Americans on April 13, 1902, ending the battle for Batangas. Malvar was one of the last Philippine generals to surrender to American forces.

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