Press Release
December 29, 2017


To many of us, December 30 is a holiday to celebrate the life and works of Dr. Jose Rizal, the national hero. One cannot help but wonder why we don't think about Rizal Day as the day of Rizal's execution.

The fact is that while we celebrate his life and works today, we also mourn his death. He died in Bagumbayan, our present day Luneta Park, on December 30, 1896, in the early morning, by firing squad, convicted of the crimes of rebellion, sedition, and forming illegal association. He was 35 years old.

On that fateful day 121 years ago, he walked to the field of his execution calm and unafraid and, at the last moment, turned to face the firing squad because he wanted to face his executioners.

This, perhaps, is what should give us pause every December 30. And what should give us inspiration and pride is the fact that he fought for something, far greater than self-preservation: reforms, social equality, and freedom.

"Courage," said Maya Angelou, "is the most important of all virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently."

Rizal and the other heroes during his time, gallantly fought with all courage for our independence and freedom from foreign oppressors.

Today, we are in the middle of another battle - the war against poverty - and all of us are called upon to act and respond. Will we respond with all courage and willingness too? I am optimistic that we will.

This is worth sharing as we commemorate Rizal Day. Let us pause to reflect, and acknowledge, the many acts of courage that everyday heroes around us perform.

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