Rizal's Blueprint For The Nation

ONE hundred fifty years after he was born, Jose Rizal remains the object of incessant and profound analysis; his writings have not been fully decoded and as years go by, scholars like Dr. Floro Quibuyen continue discovering our hero's hidden messages. Dr. Quibuyen concludes that by exiling Rizal to primeval Dapitan, the Spanish colonial state believed "they were punishing and isolating a recalcitrant subversive. Because he was a European-educated polymath, and, at 31 years of age, already an accomplished man of science and letters and adored by his compatriots, he was considered dangerous and formidable enemy of the state and the church."

Mindanao was the special preserve of the Jesuits and under the watchful eyes of his former mentors, Rizal was expected to return to the fold. That did not happen, instead, Quilbuyen said, Rizal ended up " transforming his adopted town towards his radical vision of human development and social justice and thus resolving the urgent question of how Filipinos should live and relate to each other, and what sort of nation we should aspire to be."

When he wrote the El Filibusterismo, Rizal did not know the answer to what we should be, according to Quibuyen: "When the disconsolate Simoun pressed Fr. Florentino for an answer, all that the good priest could say was a disappointing, 'Suffer and wait.' It seemed that Rizal had not yet figured out the answer... Two years after writing Fili, Rizal was closer to the answer."

He founded the La Liga Filipina to unite the whole archipelago into one compact, vigorous, and homogenous body; to advocate mutual protection in every case of trouble and need; teach Filipinos to defend themselves and each other against every violence and injustice; to foment commerce, agriculture, and education; and, to implement structural reforms
According to Quibuyen, "The Spanish regime correctly saw Rizal's project as a movement towards an independent nation and, thus, promptly arrested and exiled him to Dapitan in 1892. This event proved to be a blessing in disguise for it was in Dapitan that Rizal finally realized and put into practice the solution to the problem posed by Simoun in the Fili. In Dapitan, Rizal realized that the best way, if not the only way, is to work with the people using local resources and responding to local needs. (gemma601@yahoo.com)