Robredo: Rizal showed reforms can happen without resorting to brutality
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Leni Robredo hopes the story of national hero Jose Rizal would remind Filipinos that change can be achieved without having to resort to "brutal solutions."
"Ang mabisang pagtugon sa mga suliranin ng ating bansa ay maisasakatuparan lamang sa paggawa ng tama, sa wastong pamamaraan (An effective way to respond to the problems of the country is possible only by doing what is right, in the right way)," the Vice President said as the country commemorated Rizal's 123rd death anniversary on Monday, December 30.
"Hindi natin makakamit ang tunay na pag-unlad sa pamamagitan ng mga madalian at brutal na solusyon, lalo na iyong tahasang tumataliwas sa ating mga batas (We will not achieve true progress through instantenous and brutal solutions, especially those that go against the law)," she added.
Robredo, the leader of the opposition, seemed to be alluding to the abusive policies of President Rodrigo Duterte, including the bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands, and the government's ongoing crackdown against activists and the media. (READ: 2019: A bad year to be in the opposition)
The Vice President hopes Filipinos today would emulate the same principles Rizal bravely stood for during the Spanish regime. (READ: If Rizal were alive today, how would he tweet?)
"Hinihikayat natin ang lahat na gamitin ang pagkakataong ito upang alalahanin ang lahat ng naiambag ni Dr Rizal para sa ating bansa, at patuloy na makibahagi sa makahulugang paggunita sa kaniyang buhay at mga aral (We encourage everyone to take this opportunity to remember all of Dr Rizal's contributions to our country, and to continue participating in a meaningful commemoration of his life and lessons)," Robredo said.
Duterte, in his own Rizal Day message, urged Filipinos to keep nationalism alive by combatting the "challenges of apathy and divisiveness" that the national hero died for over a century ago.
Rizal was a Filipino nationalist whose famous anti-Spanish colonial era novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo helped inspire the Philippine Revolution.
Just 35 years old, Rizal was executed by the Spaniards on December 30, 1896, in Bagumbayan, Manila – what is now known as Luneta Park – for the crime of rebellion.
In a statement on Monday, detained Senator Leila de Lima hit the President for not emulating the values upheld by the country's heroes who fought for Philippine independence under Spanish rule.
“Ang hindi katanggap-tanggap sa atin ay ang kawalan mismo ng pagpapahalaga ng isang pinuno sa mga ipinaglabang prinsipyo ng ating mga bayani – ang pagtatanggol sa ating teritoryo, paggalang sa karapatang pantao, malayang pamamahayag at pagkakapantay-pantay,” said De Lima.
(What’s unacceptable is our leader’s own lack of imporance for the principles that our heroes fought for – the defense of our territory, respect for human rights, freedom of expression, and equality.)
De Lima also urged Filipinos to reflect on what they have done for the country.
“Mapa-pinuno man o karaniwang mamamayan, tanungin po sana natin ang ating sarili: Bilang Pilipino, ano ang nagagawa ko para sa aking kapwa Pilipino? Sa harap ng lantarang karahasan at pagpatay sa mga maralita, umimik ba tayo o nanahimik?” she said.
(Whether you are an official or an ordinary citizen, I hope we ask ourselves: As a Filipino, what have I done for my countrymen? In the face of blatant violence and killing of the poor, did we speak out or remain silent?)
De Lima added: “Sa paglapastangan sa mga institusyon na may mandatong itaguyod ang hustisya, tumutol ba tayo o nagpagamit lang sa mga mapang-abuso? Sa panggigipit sa malayang pamamahayag at pagpapakalat ng fake news, pumanig ba tayo sa tama at nararapat o nagwalang kibo lamang at nagpakaduwag?”
(As institutions mandated to uphold justice were being maligned, did we voice our protest or were we complicit to the abuse? When the freedom of the press was being attacked and fake news were being spread, did we side with the right and just, or were we silent and spineless?) – With reports from Aika Rey/Rappler.com