BONIFACIO DAY

Let’s talk about our National History. I know many of you has no detailed knowledge about this so I did some research para naman medyo maka relate tayo ngayong araw na to… baka sakali… makita natin ang kahalagahan ng mga ipinaglaban nya… na sana lang ay hindi nga nasayang ang mga iyon… yung reference books ko ay hinalukay ko pa sa Baul ng tatay ko 🙂

Today is November 30, we are commemorating one of the important person in the Philippine history, Andres Bonifacio.

Who is the guy? ( He’s my Hero 🙂 )

Bonifacio came out after the failure of the reform movement headed by Rizal and M. Del Pilar. This paved way for a more radical and more active lines. He formed the Katipunan, a secret society which was founded at Tondo Manila, in a house on Azcarraga street then numbered 314, on July 7, 1892, the same date on which Rizal was decreed to be banished to Dapitan.

The secret society was popularly known as KKK which means “kataastaasan Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga anak ng Bayan” (The Highest and the most respectable Association of the Son’s of the People).

The two principal aims of the KKK as gathered from the writings of Bonifacio:

  1. Unity of the Filipino people
  2. Separation from Spain by means of Revolution

Rizal doubtless approved the first aim but refused to accept the second and this was the reason that he refused to go along with the “Katipuneros” (soldiers’ of the Katipunan) and voluntarily surrendered that leads him to prison and death.

To achieve unity of the Filipinos, propaganda work must be done and this was through massive education and civic trainings of the Katipuneros. To that end, Bonifacio prepared his now well-known Decalogue, and Jacinto his famous “Kartilya ng Katipunan” (Primer of the Katipunan)

Here is an excerpt from the second paragraph of the Kartilya which states that;

“The object pursued by this association is great and precious: to unite in ideas and purposes all Filipinos by means of a strong oath and from union derive force with which to tear the veil that obscures intelligence and thus find the true path of Reason and Light”

The strong oath was documented and signed with the blood of the “Katipuneros” (blood compact). They swore at the Katipunan creed; To defend the oppressed, fight the oppressor even to the extent of supreme self- sacrifice.

Organization of the Katipunan

The Katipunan has 3 levels of authority:

Kataastaasang Sanggunian (The Supreme Council)
Sangguniang Bayan (The Provincial Council)
Sangguniang Barangay (Town Council)

It was founded in 1892 but Andre4s Bonifacio assumed the presidency in 1894

Table of Organization

President – Andres Bonifacio
Secretary – Jose Turiano Santiago
Fiscal – Emilio Jacinto
Treasurer – Vicente Molina

Executive Department (1896)

President – Andres Bonifacio
Secretary of State- Emilio Jacinto
Secretary of War – Teodoro Plata
Secretary of Justice – Briccio Pantas
Secretary of the Interior – Aguedo del Rosario
Secretary of Finance – Enrique Pacheco

Membership of the Katipunan

With Bonifacio as the Supreme leader, the society gains active followers in the provinces of Morong (Rizal), Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Tayabas. The number of Katipuneros has been estimated at 123, 000 in Manila and the surrounding provinces. Women also organized themselves into an Auxiliary of the Katipunan including the 29 relatives of the Katipuneros.

Ritual of the Katipunan

Katipunan also adopted some of the features and practices of the Masonry, such as conferring of degrees, secret ceremonies and symbolic names.

A first degree of the Katipunan was called “Katipun” meaning an associate and the sacred word was “Anak ng Bayan”. A second degree member was called “Kawal”, a soldier and the sacred word was “Gom-Bur-Za” which stand for Father Gomez, Burgos and Zamora. A member of the third degree was called “Bayani”, a hero and the sacred word was “Rizal”.

The symbolic name of Bonifacio was “May Pag-asa (There is hope), Emilio Aguinaldo as Magdalo and Emilio Jacinto as Pingkian.

The call to Arms

It was a lieutenant of the civil guard stationed in Pasig, who in July 5, 1896, reported in confidential writing to the Governor of Manila that persons coming from the capital and neighboring towns were enlisting men for an “unknown purpose” and that they were making recruits sign wit their blood a pledge not to reveal, even under threat or death the purpose of the association and its intentions.

On August 19, 1896, the offices of the “El Diario de Manila was forcibly searched by the “guardia civil” and lithographic stone with 2 blank receipts of the Katipunan was found including the By-Laws and other incriminating documents. This leads to multiple arrests of many suspects that ends up in their tortures and death.

The First Cry of Balintawak – The first cry of revolution

bonifacio-monument

On August 20, at the last series of meetings held in Kangkong, a barrio in Caloocan, Bonifacio and his followers plan and agreed to attack Manila on August 29, 1896. That decision marked the triumph of the radicals under the leadership of Bonifacio and Jacinto. Resolved not to return home, the Katipuneros, as proof of their determination to break off their allegiance to Spain, tore up their “cedulas” (certificate of residence), shouting “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” (Long live the Philippine Republic)

That was the start of the Philippine revolution which took place in many parts of the land. Many Katipuneros had died in the battle for the sake of freedom and liberty. Bonifacio has fought for this purpose until the last breath of his life.

300 years of Bondage. Millions of Filipinos had lost their lives fighting for independence.

The Spanish is too proud to surrender to what they call idiots and stupid Filipinos. They rather surrender to Americans. And so it was done.

The history tells us who the real heroes are. ..who fought to liberate this land. It was clearly written but Bonifacio, was denied the title of a National Hero. My daughter asked me that same question. I said, maybe because Bonifacio is a radical person and must not be idolized by future generation. They want us to be meek and just pray and ask for God’s mercy. Not fight and bear the unbearable… and whoever raised his voice against the government must be silenced… legally…brutally.

The Cry of Balintawak still echoes in the wind. For every life that is wasted, for every leader who dies because of a word called “principle”. I wonder if independence was really achieved because until this day, the Spanish styles of killings and tortures is still existing. Activists are killed. Organizations are busted. Workers are displaced. Unions are abolished.

The journey to freedom is long and hard. The price of bravery and principle is high.

The day of real freedom and independence still remains a dream…

 

References: History of the Philippines by Conrado Benitez

The Philippine Islands – by Dr. James A. Robertson, Blair and Robertson

>>> My dad’s books from his very old collections…

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Veterans Day

NOVEMBER 11, 2008

Today, Americans are celebrating Veterans Day. This occasion is celebrated annually every 11th day of November in honor of military veterans. If it falls on a Sunday then the following Monday is designated for holiday leave. This practice is similar to Philippines because any legal holiday which falls on a Sunday, Monday will be a holiday leave, and for regular workers working on a holiday, it will be a double pay on their pay slip.

Why I am discussing this?

My Dad is a US army, a World War II Veteran. Col. Aureo B. Bustinera, my dad is one of the thousand Filipino Soldiers who fought hand in hand with the US military soldiers to liberate the Philippines from Japanese forces during war time. I grew up with stories of war and battles. I can’t count the times how my dad untiringly narrated his experiences in the battle field. The scars on his face, the traces of tortures and marks all over his body are the silent witness of his great bravery.

I was breed to be tough to all sorts of battle. The big D which stands for discipline was deeply marked on my forehead. I learned the essence of discipline through constant lecture and spanking but I do love my dad. I owe him what I am today. My battle of life has been easier compared to what he had been through during those crucial times. Living in the midst of tanks, firing guns and grenades is no joke. To survive from that battle is indeed a big miracle and I thank God that I was born to a brave man like my dad. I’m very proud of him.

Sometime in September 1992, Dad availed and filed for US Naturalization Process. This is one of the benefits extended to USAFFE (United States Army Forces in the Far East) and Philippine Scouts. Dad is a Philippine Scout (PS).  PS is a military organization of the United States Army from 1901 to World War II. Made up of native Filipinos assigned to the US Army’s Philippine Department, these troops were generally enlisted and under the command of American officers, however, a handful of Filipinos received commissions from the United States Military Academy. Philippine Scout units are given a suffix of (PS), to distinguish them from other US Army units.

tatay-army-of-us-cert

One of my Dad’s Certificate. Click for larger view.

I assisted my dad during his review. He has to familiarize all the questions and corresponding answers provided in his reviewer. I even memorized the 50 states; American flag color, presidents and other related questions because Dad was reading that everyday, I used to mock him for that because for me, it’s odd why he has to memorize all that stuff. Then I go with him at the US embassy and you know what happen. Our efforts were wasted because the interviewer just asked him to narrate his experiences during the war and he listened tearfully. Whew! That’s what I get with days of review lol!

Dad has been naturalized after a year and awarded a multiple entry and exit to US. He petitioned us after but I told him I prefer to stay here in the Philippines. The irony of this naturalization is that Dad will only receive his pension if he would live in the US territory. Many of my dad’s comrades went abroad to taste the life of Milk and Honey but unfortunately most of them returned resting on their coffins accompanied by their mourning families.

tatay-cert-of-naturalization

Dad’s US Certificate of Naturalization. click for larger image.

My Dad is already past his 80s and one of an estimated 18,000 surviving World War II Filipino veterans, 13,000 in the Philippines and 5,000 in the U.S. struggling to survive without adequate veteran’s benefits which the U.S. government promised nearly six decades ago. Instead he has been living meagerly on his old age pension from PVAO (Philippine Veterans Affairs Office).

Reading the news, the bill which will allow the US veterans residing in the Philippines to receive part of the compensation that the US veterans residing in US is receiving which is called Veterans’ Equity Act of 2007 has been set for floor debates both in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

I saw the faint smile from my dad’s tired old face. Finally, after more than half of the century fighting for their rights, they’re almost at the finished line and I hope my dad can still raise his hands for that day that he will receive his $ pension which he long for many years.

Dad and thousand of men like him were victims of wars and conflict. They served hand in hand with the government but been abandoned afterwards. They’re no different from many Philippine soldiers who were pushed out from their hard-earned home like what is happening to us now here in Camp Aquino where we are facing demolition issue.

The irony of war… The irony of Governance…

…and yet we are wondering why resistance movements exist?

The existence of resistance movement in any country is a result of discontentment and poverty. They choose to die fighting rather than die waiting…

I hope that the leaders will comprehend the essence of this truth…