Have you ever wondered why our national heroes as written in history books all come from Luzon? Well, I have.
Santa Banana! When I was teaching history to Ateneo de Manila students in the 50s, I used to remind my students that it appeared to me there were only national heroes from Luzon and nobody from the Visayas and Mindanao.
And the reason for this was all historians were from Luzon.
It’s for this reason that Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez filed a bill in the House of Representatives that a great injustice was done to Mindanaoans which must be corrected, filing House Bill 1461 to correct history, which would also recognize 12 revolutionaries from Mindanao who fought the Spanish and American colonizers.
The bill of Rodriguez proposed the Mindanao Heroes Declaration Act be enacted to correct the bias against the heroes from different regions of Mindanao who struggled and fought the colonizers.
Rodriguez listed them as follow: From CDO City and Misamis Oriental, General Nicolas Capistrano, Colonel Apolinar Velez, Captain Vicente Roa; From Misamis Occidental: Rufino Deloso, Simeon Ledesma, Capitan Daligdig;
From Surigao: Simeon Gonzales, Wenceslao Gonzales; From Zamboanga: General Vicente Alvarez; From Cotabato: Datu Uto, Datu Ali ; From Marawi: Amai Pakpak.
No doubt about it. My gulay, were it not for the “revolutionarios” from Mindanao, the Katipuneros from Luzon would have had to fight in full force the Spanish army only on the island of Luzon and also the full force of the American army only in Luzon.
But, with the revolutionaries from Mindanao, the American forces had to be dispersed also to fight in Mindanao.
Thus, for the sake of truth and for history, the Rodriguez bill should be prioritized not only for the sake of truth, but also to do justice to a lot of Mindanaoans who died so that the country would be free.
I am particularly interested in General Nicolas Capistrano, the paternal grandfather of my wife, Trinidad Kapunan Capistrano.
My wife told me when she was a child, her family who were then living in Cotabato, used to go on vacations to Cagayan de Oro to visit her grandfather, an hacendero who lived in a mansion by the sea at Gusa.
My wife could never forget that when a big gong sounded, people would be trekking foot down from the hills nearby to have lunch cooked in big vats, and seeing her grandfather on horseback coming down from the hills.
Her grandfather was married to a mestiza, Cecila Castaneda, who she remembered was called “ La Estrella del Quiapo ‘’ and whose family lived in Evangelista, Quiapo.
Soon enough , after the Philippine-American Revolution, when Filipinos were given their birthright as Filipinos, her grandfather became a senator in the first Philippine assembly and later became a judge.
I am recounting this not for me to glorify my wife’s grandfather, but to rectify history.
In recognition of the revolutionaries from Mindanao, the Americans, I was told, gave them extra benefits.
My gulay, a street in Cagayan de Oro City was even named after General Nicolas Capistrano. Other revolutionaries from Mindanao were likewise given honors and benefits by the Americans later on .
I believe that in fairness and in justice to the Mindanaon revolutionaries, history must be corrected by President Marcos Jr.’s administration in recognition of national heroes from Mindanao to be proclaimed as such.
Likewise, there were also heroes from the Visayas who struggled and fought the colonizers, and they should also be recognized in law.
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My wife and I had searched for chronicles about heroes from Mindanao and we came across a three-inch thick book on the local historical sources of Northern Mindanao compiled and edited by Jesuit priest Francisco R. Demetrio from the library of Ateneo at Cagayan de Oro.
In recognition of the Muslim heroes, Rep. Rodriguez has this to say : “These heroic wars waged by our Muslim brothers greatly diminished the military strength and divided the attention of the Spanish authorities.
“The Muslim resistance led to the strengthening of the Katipunan because without the military campaign in Mindanao, there would have been more than enough Spanish forces in Manila to check the Katipunan.“
It would do well for the National Historical Commission to support the Rodriguez bill if only to correct and rectify Philippine history because generations who have been taught Philippine history should know there are so many forgotten heroes also from the Visayas and Mindanao.
Senate President Migz Zubiri and Senator Bato de la Rosa who are also Mindanaoans should support the Rodriguez bill and file their own bills to declare the Mindanao heroes as national heroes.
It is for this reason why I am also calling the attention of Vice President Sara Duterte as Education Secretary to have this great error of having only heroes from Luzon in Philippine history books.
The Vice President, a MIndanaoan from Davao City, owes it to her fellow Mindanaoans to support the Rodriguez bill.
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President Marcos Jr. did well through the LTFRB or the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to postpone the consolidation of franchises of jeepney operators in connection with the Modernization Program on Jeepneys to postpone it from June 30 to the end of the year, not only because of the nationwide threat of jeepney operators to go on a weekend long strike.
Santa Banana, the threat could well affect all government and private sector employees and workers, and could cause the suspension of classes as well.
My gulay, that could mean a national crisis, with the greater majority of our people already suffering from the high prices of almost everything because of soaring inflation.
In this connection, it would do well for the LTFRB to have all jeepneys inspected to check whether or not their engines are still roadworthy as part of the modernization program.
Jeepney operators can form cooperatives to have old and not roadworthy jeepneys modernized.
I am all for modernizing Philippine jeepneys, not only for the safety of passengers, but to have an effect on the public transport system.
Others may say since jeepneys are part and parcel of Philippine history, the old vintage type of jeepneys should be preserved.
But, the greater need is to have roadworthy types of jeepneys along our roads for the sake of the people needing them.
Thus, it is well and good the deadline of consolidation of franchises of all jeepneys is postponed to the end of the year, not at this time when the county has more important issues to attend to.
Survival for most of us Filipinos comes first.
The threat of jeepney groups to go on week-long strikes against the modernization program on March 6 will proceed as scheduled, but there are also jeep factions nationwide who will not join the strike.
Good heavens for that, for the benefit of government and private sector workers and employees and workers. And students as well, my gulay!
Full text at www.manilastandard.net
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I attended the tribute for my late good friend, Roberto “Bobby” Velayo Ongpin, and it all went well, especially with the presence of President Marcos Jr, First Lady Liza A. Marcos and Former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos.
A lot has been said about RVO, as the associates and friends of Bobby call him.
But, above everything, I believe Ongpin’s place in history is already in place.
I am referring to that part of history, after the assassination of the Senator Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983, when there was a massive outflow of dollars, not only from foreign investors and foreigners, but also from locals and domestic investors.
I was told the foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank was only about $100 million, so much so the government then had no more dollars to handle debt obligations and more importantly to buy essential needs for the country and the people.
Then Trade and Industry Minister Bobby Ongpin thought of the idea which then President Marcos Sr, approved right away.
Ongpin gathered all the well-known foreign exchange dealers and threatened to have them all arrested and put in the stockade if they did not cooperate.
Ongpin dictated the day-to-day rate of exchange and had all foreign exchange surrendered to the government to pay debt obligations and to purchase essential needs for the country.
That gave birth to the Binondo Central Bank, which eventually saved the country at that time from economic collapse.
The Ongpin formula impressed the World Bank, that when Egypt had similar problems as the Philippines for lack of foreign exchange, the Ongpin formula was adopted for Egypt.
I am recounting this event in our history because I see the need for the Marcos administration or Congress to acknowledge Ongpin’s contribution to history.
Now that Ongpin is dead, it will have to be a posthumous acknowledgment.