Erap: Like Bonifacio, I was unjustly ousted
MANILA, Philippines – They were actors, elected officials and Manila natives, with an affinity for the poor.
And just like Andres Bonifacio, he was unfairly booted out of office, said Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
"Si Bonifacio tinanggal sa kanyang puwesto bilang Supremo [ng Katipunan]. Bukod diyan, inaresto din siya, na-convict at hindi lang ikinulong kundi ipinapatay sa Maragondon, Cavite sa ilalim ng command ng isang nagngangalang Macapagal," Estrada said in a speech during the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK).
(Bonifacio was removed from his position as Supremo of the Katipunan. He was arrested, convicted, and killed in Maragondon, Cavite under the administration of a Macapagal.)
"Na-convict din ako sa ilalim ng administrasyon ng isa ring nagngangalang Macapagal," he quipped, referring to former president and now Pampanga Congresswoman Glora Macapagal-Arroyo. Estrada was convicted of plunder and later pardoned under the Arroyo administration.
(I was also convicted under the administration of a Macapagal.)
Estrada, along with Manila city council members and Vice President Jejomar Binay held rites to commemorate Bonifacio's 150th birth anniversary at the Bantayog ni Bonifacio in Manila.
"Magkahawig ang sinapit namin ni Gat Andres Bonifacio. Mas masuwerte lang ako dahil ako ay nabuhay," said Estrada.
(Bonifacio and I had the same fate. I'm just lucky because I'm still alive.)
In his speech, Estrada called on Manileños to "learn from [Bonifacio's] ideals and patriotism." "Sa pagdiriwang natin ngayon, ito ang tanging maihahandog ko sa alaala ni Bonifacio: ang buhayin at bigyang sigla ang Maynila, ang aming tinubuang lupa," he said.
(In our celebration today, I offer only one thing to commemorate Bonifacio: to revive Manila, the land where we grew up in.)
Since assuming office, Estrada has been advocating reforms to bring back the Philippine capital's "glory days." His administration marked drastic changes in the city – from the banning of buses without terminals inside the city, to regulating street side vendors in Divisoria.
The former-president-turned-mayor also tried to make amends with victims and survivors of the 2010 Quirino hostage-taking, although the city's efforts have been rejected.
Bonifacio, like Estrada, is an example that schooling should not get in the way of a person's ambitions, the mayor said. "Hindi dapat maging hadlang ang di pagtatapos ng pag-aaral upang magsikap ang isang tao na palawakin ang kanyang kaalaman," he said.
(The lack of a degree should not get in the way of a person who wants to learn.)
Bonifacio in the limelight
The Manila city council recently passed a resolution asking the national government to officially recognize Bonifacio as first President of the Tagalog Republic.
"Yun ang kasaysayan talaga… may dalawang kasaysayan, yung isa naitatago. Pero ayon sa mga historian, siya talaga unang presidente ng Pilipinas," said Manila Councilor and actor John Marvin "Yul Servo" Nieto, who authored the resolution.
(You have two histories, the other is often hidden. But according to historians, he really is the first president of the country.)
Is it also about time Filipino students study Bonifacio the same way they study Rizal?
Estrada seems to think so, calling for the introduction of a college course about Bonifacio. Republic Act No 1425 or the "Rizal Law" requires colleges and universities in the country to teach the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal.
"Alam nating lahat ang tungkol sa buhay ng ating Pambansang Bayani at ng sinulat niyang Noli at Fili, pero marami tayong hindi alam tungkol kay Bonifacio at sa Philippine Revolution na nagbigay sa atin ng kalayaan," he said.
(We know a lot about Jose Rizal, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, but there's a lot we don't know about Bonifacio and the Philippine Revolution.)
As calls to declare Bonifacio national hero mount once again, hope springs eternal for the Father of the Philippine Revolution to get the recognition many think he has not gotten yet. – Rappler.com