Cagayan de Oro City, also known as the City of Golden Friendship, (yes, despite the many many awful things you hear of about the Mindanao region) celebrated its Independence Day, along with the entire country yesterday. But one monument at the heart of our city had it’s birthday too. A lot of flowers stood with the statue to commemorate the event.
The monument of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines’s national hero, is one of the oldest monuments and structures in the city. Found at Plaza Divisoria, it has more to offer than meets the eye. It was constructed on June 19, 1917 6 years after the establishment of the of the Freemasonry Maguindanao Lodge 40. Dr. Rizal, is a Freemason himself thus it was thought to be a dedication to the hero and his membership in the brotherhood. One interesting and important fact of this structure is its Spanish inscription (probably one of the few Spanish inscriptions you’d get to read around the city) on the marble marker.
On it, it says:
“RIZAL! para perpetuar to memoria. Te dedicamos este recuerdo, humilde si, pero con ello van nuestros mas caros afectos brotados desde el fondo de muestras almas y, a todo kagayan que te venera sirvale de guia para seguir tu ejemplo.”
Mindanao, is under martial law now due to an ongoing battle in the Marawi area. A lot of Filipinos are disappointed that Vice-President Leni Robredo led the celebration yesterday and not the man supposed to be leading it. It is not his first time ‘boycotting’ or ‘not attending’ a well-known celebration for most Filipinos because as many Filipinos would know, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte also did not attend to the celebration of the anniversary of the EDSA People Power. Both celebrations, all centered on freedom, in a way. EDSA People Power, marked the end of the Marcos Regime; his martial law; and the making of a new constitution. The Philippine Independence Day, marks the declaration of Independence of the Philippines from Spain on June 12, 1898.
BUT … here’s the thing… no one needs to lead us to freedom. It does not – should not matter who led that ceremony. What matters is that we remember the day. We remember the past. We remember the blood, sweat, and hardships done by the ones who came before us. Right now, is there is a war going on. And it is not only in Marawi. Not only in Mindanao, the division amongst my fellow countrymen is clearly seen as evidenced by constant fights caused by different opinions and political point of views. In all honesty, if our president did not win the last election, I would have been devastated but that doesn’t mean I will stop being a decent human being and being a good citizen. That doesn’t mean that if Pres. Duterte somehow slips up, I will no longer love my country or my fellow people. In the end of it all, I do believe that love for the country is all that matters. As someone once cleverly put it, “Loyalty to the country always, loyalty to the government when they need it.” I love my country. And very much like how the monument of Rizal is still standing, so will my love for it.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Punitin ang mga cedula!