‘El Supremo’s’ relevance in today’s society

·2 min read

ON MONDAY, Nov. 30, 2020, the Philippines will commemorate the 157th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, a Filipino revolutionary leader and president of the Tagalog Republic. But what does it mean to celebrate Bonifacio?

Ryan Dave Rayla, a political science professor at the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R), said the present generation can learn a lot from Bonifacio’s example of being “woke.”

“We learned that Bonifacio was ‘woke’ or highly aware of what was happening and he was determined to change things for the better,” he said.

Bonifacio is often called “the father of the Philippine Revolution. Aside from being one of the founders of the Katipunan, which sought Philippine independence from Spanish colonial rule, he also later became its “supremo,” or supreme leader.

Fatima Villaruel, who teaches Philippine history at USJ-R, described Bonifacio as “one of a kind.”

Bonifacio’s opponents didn’t consider him respectable because of his limited education and limited wealth, she said. But this didn’t stop him from achieving freedom at all cost.

Human rights lawyer Democrito Barcenas echoed the same sentiment.

Despite his limited education, Bonifacio read books on the French Revolution to prepare himself for national uprising against Spanish tyranny, he said.

“Bonifacio did not live to see our victory against Spain because he proved to be an example of the dictum that a revolution devours its own children,” Barcenas said.

Bonifacio was executed by Emilio Aguinaldo’s men on May 10, 1897, after he was found guilty of sedition and treason against Aguinaldo’s government and conspiracy to murder Aguinaldo.

Lenoff Arce, who teaches Philippine Area Studies, Rizal, Global Media Culture and Development Economics, said the country is looking to the younger generation for its continuation by anchoring the qualities of liberalism and nationalism to heroes who paved the way for the country’s formation, Arce said.

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the present generation should also continue the fight heroes like Bonifacio had started during their time.

“We have to continue other battles, other fights, like the fight against corruption, illegal drugs, cyber sex, and many other social ills,” he said.

He said the public can continue practicing “heroic actions”amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I would also like to remind the people that there is a hero and a Bonifacio in us, especially in these pandemic times, by wearing mask, observing minimum health standards, social distancing and complying with health protocols,” he said.

“In that sense, you can also be a hero,” Labella said.

The Cebu City Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission will lay a wreath at the Bonifacio Monument in the Plaza Independencia at 8 a.m. on Monday. (WBS, JJL)