Republic Act No. 1425, known as the Rizal Law, mandates all educational institutions in the Philippines to offer courses about José Rizal. The full name of the law is An Act to Include in the Curricula of All Public and Private Schools, Colleges and Universities Courses On the Life, Works and Writings of Jose Rizal, Particularly His Novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, Authorizing the Printing and Distribution Thereof, and for Other Purposes. The measure was strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines due to the anti-clerical themes in Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo. RIZAL AS A HERO
According to Renato Constantino, when the American government conquered the island of the Philippines from the Spanish government in 1896, the American government established a commonwealth government after the Spanish revolutionary government ceased to govern the country. At this time of the Philippine history, Filipinos under the commonwealth government started to frame up Filipino national identities. When the question on who would be the national hero arose, whether Rizal or Bonifacio, the American government "guided" the Filipino people to choose Rizal. The American rationale was based on Rizal's peaceful propaganda and diplomatic approaches in attaining Philippine freedom and independence, unlike Bonifacio who chose a bloody revolution.
Whether this assessment is accurate or not, Dr. Rizal has been considered a hero of the Philippines from the outset: a public holiday was declared honouring Dr. Rizal in 1898, whereas that for Bonifacio was not declared until 1921. Dr. Rizal was considered to be his inspiration by Bonifacio himself. Even without the assistance of US propaganda, Rizal would have been honoured as a hero in the Philippines. Perhaps the effect of the propaganda was less to boost Rizal and more to denigrate Bonifacio. THE RIZAL LAW AND NATIONALISM
Much has been said and written about Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the man whose life we are honoring today. He was dubbed as our national hero, rightly so, as his life and even his morose death has inspired and continues to inspire generation after generations of Filipinos. In a time where being born a Filipino in the Philippines was a disadvantage, he lived to prove this wrong and in his works that led to his death, he immortalized the true spirit of the Filipino people – the spirit of resilience, of valor, of greatness. His works and philosophies not only sparked a revolution, they were revolutionary. He was even himself a revolution in every sense of the word. Conrado de Quiros, in one of his columns, best described Rizal’s existence as he wrote and I quote, “Rizal’s greatest act of subversion was not something that he said or did. It was what he was. They probably would have executed him anyway even if he had not written savage satires of the friars and their brethren in government. His very existence was seditious. He was brilliant. That was the most seditious thing of all.” Jose Rizal lived in a time where those who fronted themselves as leaders and evangelizers led by reducing the ruled to nothingness, making them a horde of lazy, uneducated fools who owed the Spaniards a favor for ruling them; and evangelized by feeding them blind faith as they made the Indios believe that they were a bunch of sheep who would be lost without them. Then, suddenly, Rizal emerges from the institutions of Europe, where he turned himself into an arsenal of knowledge, bettering most of them and brimming with the desire to free his people from the brainwashing and the oppression. By virtue of his erudite and the burning passion for his bereaved motherland, he was despised. During those times, Rizal was not the Rizal we know today. Rizal was a traitor, Rizal was a filibuster, Rizal was a heathen, Rizal was even a philanderer, a womanizer, and everything that was no good. Worst of all, he was an excommunicado. In 1956, two world wars and decades after Rizal’s...
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