Are you a modern day Bonifacio?
MANILA, Philippines – Andres Bonifacio showed to Filipinos that fighting for one's rights knows no hindrance or obstacle.
On the 152nd birth anniversary of the Filipino hero on Monday, November 30, Rappler roamed Bonifacio's birth city, Manila, and looked for his modern day counterparts who continue to live by the lessons he left behind.
Immediately after Manila officials left the Bonifacio Shrine after the anniversary celebration, a frail old man holding a tall broomstick started sweeping the premises.
Romeo Vasquez, 56, is a utility man at the Manila City Hall. He said that every single day, he cleaned the Bonifacio marker located beside the Manila City Hall. "Kahit hindi [niya] birthday o kamatayan nya, talagang nililinis namin yung mga monument nya." the street sweeper of 20 years told Rappler. (Even though it is not his birthday, or death anniversary, we clean his monument,)
Also Tondo-born like Bonifacio, Mang Romeo said he couldn’t help but be proud of the hero's sacrifices for the country.
"Lalong-lalo na ako taga-Tondo, sa Tondo rin iyan eh. Kaya inspirado talaga ako dahil kalahi namin 'yan." (Especially me, I am from Tondo like him. That's why I am so inspired because he is like us.)
He's even motivated to be just as brave as the Supremo. "[Kailangan matapang] sa pakikipaglaban lalo na sa baluktot na pamamalakad ng ating mag gobyerno, sa mga kurapsyon. 'Yung mga pondo ng ating gobyerno saan ba napupunta?" Mang Romeo remarked. (We need to be brave to fight the unjust system of government, corruption. Where do our public funds go?)
"Hindi tayo dapat matakot kasi may freedom of speech tayo, di ba? Lalo ngayon mag-eelection." (We should not be afraid because there is freedom of speech. Especially now, it's election time.)
Poverty an inspiration?
Before going to a client, Josie Mendoza stopped by the celebration of Bonifacio Day.
The 55-year-old manicurist said Bonifacio's perseverance has always inspired her to work hard despite having to struggle with low income.
"Kung ikaw nagsisikap makakamtan mo yung mga minimithi mo baga. Ganun ang buhay ni Andres Bonifacio eh, nagsikap siya," Aling Josie said. (If you work hard, you will soon get what you want. That's how Andres Bonifacio lived – he strived.)
She believes poverty is not a hindrance to success. "Iyan nga ang nagbibgay ng inspirasyon eh yung kahirapan mo, para itutok mo sa utak mo na mahirap ako, o magsisikap ako para sa mabuti baka marating ko yung mga pangarap ko." (Poverty serves as an inspiration so that I could set my mind to work harder and achieve my dreams.)
"[Pag] magtrabaho ka ng marangal masarap kamtin yung biyayang pinagpaguran mo sa malinis na pamumuhay ganun siya di 'ba?" she added, referring to how the poor man's hero worked menial jobs such as being a warehouse keeper and a messenger.
Loyal to nation
Student Kenneth Menoro thought he was just fulfilling a school requirement when he took a history class focused on Bonifacio. But he ended up understanding how Bonifacio wanted Filipinos – especially government leaders – to show love of country.
Asked about what Bonifacio trait citizens should look for in leaders, he said: "Isa lang: pagiging tapat sa bayan." (Only one: being loyal to the nation.)
"Kung ano yung karapat-dapat na ibigay sa bayan yun lang." (Give the nation what it deserves.)
"[Tingnan ng mga kabataan ngayon] ano 'yung nagawa ni Bonifacio ng mga... siguro kung sino sa tingin nila yung maaring katulad ni Bonifacio, 'yung pinaglalaban yung tama," he said, referring to youth voters. (The youth should look into what Bonifacio has done for the country and check who they think might be similiar to Bonifacio [among the candidates], who fought for what is right.) -Rappler.com