Aquino dismayed over students' lack of knowledge in PH history

MANILA, Philippines – Why was Apolinario Mabini seated the entire time in the biopic Heneral Luna?

It started as a social media post that made the rounds on the Internet, but actor Epy Quizon, who played the role of Mabini in the film, admitted he was actually asked this question by a group of students.

President Benigno Aquino III himself learned about the incident – much to his dismay.

"Ang komento pa raw ng ilang netizens, baka pagod lang daw noong mga panahong iyon si Mabini. Talagang napailing po tayo noong ikinuwento sa amin ito," Aquino said on Tuesday, September 29, during his speech at the 28th Apolinario Mabini Awards.

(Some netizens even commented that maybe Mabini was just tired at that time. I shook my head in disbelief when we were told of this story.)

Aquino said he will call Education Secretary Armin Luistro so he can do something about the students' "lack of knowledge" in Philippine history.

"Sabihin mang iilang estudyante lang ang nagpahayag nito, masasabing isa rin itong repleksiyon sa pagkukulang sa kaalaman sa kasaysayan ng ilang kabataan sa kasalukuyan. At maya-maya ay tatawagan natin si Brother Armin [Luistro] para ayusin ito."

(Even if they say only a few students said this, we can say it still reflects some students' lack of knowledge in history at present. In a while, I will call Brother Armin [Luistro] to fix this.)

Apolinario Mabini played a vital role in Philippine history as "The Brains of the Revolution" – the man who helped shape the Philippine Republic under President Emilio Aguinaldo. (READ: FAST FACTS: The life and legacy of Apolinario Mabini)

A tribute to PWDs

During the 28th Apolinario Mabini Awards on Tuesday, Aquino paid tribute to The Sublime Paralytic who, according to the President, represents the intellect and resolve of the Filipino race.

"Talas ng isip ang kanyang naging sandata upang patibayin ang pundasyon ng ating mga demokratikong institusyon. Ipinamulat niya sa lahat na hindi lamang ang nasa katungkulan ang may tangan ng kapalaran ng bayan; may boses ang mamamayan, at sila ang bukal ng kapangyarihan sa ating bayan."

(A sharp mind became Mabini's weapon to strengthen the foundation of our democratic institution. He opened the eyes of many to the fact that not only those in position of power hold the future of the nation; citizens have a voice, and they are the source of power in our country.)

He also lauded modern heroes who, at present, have made meaningful contributions to the sector of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the Philippines:

Aquino also talked about different government initiatives for PWDs, such as Republic Act 10366, which mandates the Commission on Elections to make it easier for PWDs and senior citizens to vote during elections. 

Other initiatives include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, and the Tuloy Aral, Walang Sagabal Program. 

"Muli ko pong ididiin: Lubos ang paghanga ko sa mga kasapi ng sektor ng PWD. Ang sabi ko nga po, imbes na tawaging 'differently abled' ay mas angkop pang tawaging 'more abled' ang mga kababayan nating may kapansanan. Batid ko po kasi, bago pa man harapin ang ibang hamon sa buhay, una na nilang nilampasan ang kanilang mga sarili," the President said.

(Let me reiterate: I greatly admire members of the PWD sector. As I always say, instead of calling them "differently abled," it's more appropriate to call them "more abled." This is because even before they face the challenges of life, they already overcame their individual challenges.)

He added: "Imbes na magpadaig na lang sa kawalan ng kumpiyansa at pag-asa, inaangat nila ang kanilang sarili at nakikipagkapit-bisig sa kapwa, para maabot ang kanilang potensiyal, at makaambag, hindi lamang sa pamilya, kundi sa buong bansa."

(Instead of being defeated by lack of confidence and hope, they rise up and cooperate with others in order to achieve their full potential and contribute not only to their families, but also to the entire nation.) – Rappler.com

How well do you know Apolinario Mabini? Take this quiz!
Read a review of 'Heneral Luna' here, and check out different perspectives on the film here.

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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