Friday, June 27, 2008

Call To Fight For Freedom Rings Louder

On August 22, 1986, Katipunan leaders Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procopio, Emilio Jacinto, Teodoro Plata, Aguedo del Rosario, Pio Valenzuela and some 500 katipuneros arrived at the home of Juan A. Aquino, the son of Melchora Aquino or Tandang Sora, in Pugadlawin. News had spread that the secret society had been discovered by the Spanish authorities and many had been arrested in the ensuring crackdown on the revolutionaries.

Bonifacio had called for a meeting on August 24, in Balintawak, amidst reports that the guardia civil were on their tail. On August 23, more than 1,000 people had assembled as more katipuneros arrived. It was at this point that Bonifacio asked everyone assembled to tear their cedulas as a symbol of their resolve to fight the Spanish colonizers.

"Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! (Long Live the Philippines!)," the katipuneros shouted with one voice, making the Cry of Pugadlawin.

The following day, the leaders of the Katipunan finalized the plan to attack Intramuros in the midnight of 29 August. But even before the said date came, groups of revolutionaries had separate clashes with the guardia civil. Bonifacio came out with the manifesto rousing Filipinos everywhere to join in a simultaneous attack on all Spanish garrisons, offices, storage housed and other facilities. In the following days, katipuneros in Luzon and Visayas, armed only with bolos and a few guns, launched assaults on the Spanish enemy, and spread the fire of the revolution throughout the archipelago.

Bonifacio and the 1986 revolutionaries struggled for the Filipino's right to self-determination which, as Algiers Declaration put it, is an "imprescriptible and unalienable right" of every people. "Every people has the right to break free from any colonial or foreign domination, whether direct or indirect, and from any racist regime," states Article 6 of the Declaration.

Today katipuneros' call for freedom rings even louder as modern-day Filipinos are still shackled by worsening poverty and oppression not very different from that in Bonifacio's time, under a government which represents interests only of foreign powers and the local landlord-comprador elite. Like the preceding regimes, the Arroyo administration is ridden with graft and corruption and implements policies which favor transnational companies and foreign governments more than its own people. Officials of the regime continue the bureaucratic tradition of enriching themselves from selling the national patrimony, exacting exorbitant taxes while depriving the people of meaningful government services.

The worsening extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations in the seven years under Arroyo reflects her government's disregard for human rights and the desperate use of force to stay in power.

After 111 years, many Filipinos are still heeding Bonifacio's call to join the fight against the oppressive system and work towards setting up a democratic government which respects human rights and is truly representative of the Filipino people.

Now, would you wait for another desaparecidos or individuals who are victims of extra judicial killings and other form of repression to be in newspapers or TV's just for you to move and fight for your freedom and right to live?

Or would you wanted to die in hunger because you can no longer afford to buy the ceiling prices of primary commodities just for you to recognize that you're being oppressed by the Arroyo regime?

Time flocks by, but still you wanted to be stubborn and watch other Filipinos die in poverty, coercion and fascism.

Then this is the time I blame you for letting the status quo to prevail and continue up until next generations, in which of course letting many lives to be sacrificed.

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