Monday, December 1, 2014

PNoy joins Filipinos in celebrating Bonifacio Day; militants say hero's struggle finds echoes today

Workers do last-minute sprucing up at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan. The nation marked Sunday the 151st birth anniversary of the Father of the 1896 Philippine revolution. KRISKEN JONES, INTERAKSYON.COM

MANILA – President Benigno S. Aquino III joined the Filipino people in celebrating on Sunday the 151st birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines.

”Andres Bonifacio’s patriotism ignited the passion within our countrymen to fight for liberty and demand dignity, freedom, and sovereignty for the land of our ancestors,” the President said in a press statement on the Tondo, Manila-born man known as the father of the Philippine revolution of 1896.

”Now, 151 years after his birth, our history and identity, tested by the many challenges we have overcome, we unite as one nation to remember his sacrifice and desire to see us take charge of our destiny,” he added.

President Aquino said the country has become a dynamic and progressive hub of business and commerce, an achievement reached under the "tuwid na daan" (straight path) policy of his administration.

”It will continue to thrive as we fight to vanquish the culture of greed and corruption once rampant in our system as we renew our dedication to fostering integrity and accountability in our institutions,” the President said.

The President said he hopes Bonifacio will continue to inspire the Filipino people to aspire for a progressive country.

”We have created for ourselves the opportunity to fulfill the dreams Gat Andres envisioned for us. May this day renew the spirit of camaraderie in all of us and inspire us to aspire to greater heights of prosperity. Together, let us forge a path to a more inclusive future,” President Aquino said.

Born in Tondo, Manila on Nov. 30, 1863, Bonifacio is considered as the Father of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonization. He spearheaded the Katipunan movement in July 1892.

For leading the first revolutionary government against the Spaniards, some historians said Bonifacio should be the first president of the Philippines.

Bonifacio was executed for alleged treason in Maragondon, Cavite on May 10, 1897 by revolutionary men identified with the camp of Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo, who declared the Philippine independence from Spain in Kawit on June 12, 1898.

Thousands march to remember

In contrast to President Aquino's celebratory tone, thousands of people from various sectors marched toward Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola in Manila, calling the hero's birthday a national day of protest against President Aquino and his policies.

“Diwa ni Bonifacio, tunay na pagbabago! Panagutin si Aquino!” is the theme of the rally attended by various anti-Aquino groups and personalities.

“Today we reaffirm our commitment to continue Bonifacio’s unfinished revolution for national freedom and democracy. The people demand genuine change and freedom from foreign dictates, human rights abuses, feudal oppression and gross corruption,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“If we are serious about the subject of change, then we say, Aquino must go. His regime has exacerbated all sorts of social problems such as pork barrel corruption and foreign military occupation. He continues to find new ways of keeping pork in the national budget. He continues to find ways to bring back US bases to our shores. The Aquino regime stands in stark opposition to change,” Reyes added.

The group also condemned the arrest of the secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Antonio Flores, during a protest action Saturday (Nov. 29) in front of Aquino’s house in Quezon City. Flores was detained at Camp Caringal in QC and faces several charges according to police.

Leaders of the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan wore katipunero costumes as they marched from the Espana Avenue to Liwasang Bonifacio where a program was organized.

“Aquino is more Aguinaldo rather than Bonifacio. He claims to be for change yet he defends the status quo. He has betrayed the people’s aspirations for genuine freedom and democracy. His daang matuwid is a sham,” Reyes said.

This year's Bonifacio Day Rally also falls on the 50th anniversary of the iconic youth group Kabataang Makabayan which fought the Marcos dictatorship during the 70's after it was forced underground. The KM still exists today as a member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

'Cha-cha, killing and jailing of unionists mark Bonifacio Day demands'

The Partido Manggagawa (PM) highlighted labor’s demand for a rejection of the charter change initiative of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and the continuing repression of unions by capitalists and the government.

“On the very eve of Bonifacio Day, Rolando Pango, a labor organizer in Negros Occidental was abducted and then assassinated as he was on the way to meet sugar workers who will join today’s mass actions. Meanwhile in Toledo City in Cebu province, mine union president Tony Cuizon is in jail on trumped up charges. The arrest of Cuizon and murder of Pango are symptomatic of the repression suffered by workers fighting for their rights.” stated Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

Marches are also being held today in the cities of Cebu, Bacolod and Davao in coordination with the main demonstration in Manila. In Manila, PM members are joining workers from other the labor groups comprising the labor coalition Nagkaisa in marching this morning from Welcome Rotunda to Mendiola for a program until noon.

“Workers oppose Belmonte’s economic cha-cha as it carries the same old agenda of giving foreign capital more flexibility and freedom in doing business in the country. While Congress makes an Christ,as rush to vote on the Charter change as demanded by imperialist Santas, it turns a deaf ear to workers demands for enabling laws to the living wage, security of tenure and full employment provisions of the Constitution,” stated Fortaleza.

Pango had assisted some 40 workers of Hacienda Salud in the town of Isabela in filing illegal dismissal and labor standards violations against landlord Manolette Lamatan, who heads the Negros planters association. Cuizon has been incarcerated for more than a month now after he was arrested on a warrant for illegal possession of firearms and explosives which his union claims was planted.

Anakpawis Partylist commemorated Bonifacio Day in a protest rally at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila,joining various nationalist groups includingthe Manilalakbayan contingent composed of farmers and Lumad who came all the way from Mindanao.

“Bonifacio and the members of the Katipunan, the great majority of whom came from the ranks of the toiling masses, took concrete and collective action in the pursuit of a society free from the dictates of foreign power, decisively taking steps, in fact, to confiscate friar lands and haciendas in order tobe distributed to poor and landless farmers,” Anakpawis Partylist representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said.

Anakpawis said that Bonifacio was inspired by the social upheavals in the world during his time, particularly the liberaldemocratic European Revolutions of 1848, that overthrew the feudal rule of the aristocratic class and established sovereign democratic republics.

“Other countries have fulfilled the bourgeois-democratic prerequisite of land reform as early as the 19th centurywhich has subsequently made economic development possible, but our country has yet to satifisy such social requirement and has thus been inextricably caught in chronic political and economic crises,” Hicap said.

“If Bonifacio had the Spanish colonialists as his enemy, at present we are confronting US imperialism. Then there was the ilustrado class, now we have the Aquino regime. Spanish colonial rule, meant landlessness, land rent exaction, forced labor, massacre, murder, rape and others forms of exploitation and oppression that victimized our Filipino forebears, the very same ruinous conditions in fact that generally pervade in the 21st-century Philippine society,” Hicap said.

The online news portal of TV5
By: | Philippines News Agency
November 30, 2014 5:27 PM

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