VIGAN CITY — The whole nation came together anew on Dec. 30, 2019 to celebrate the life of Dr. Jose P. Rizal – a great man considered as a national hero, an icon and a perfect example on how to be a Filipino.
In Ilocos Sur, the provincial government, along with the Knights of Rizal and Angalo Lodge No. 63 of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, Las Damas de Rizal and various national government agencies gathered to honor Rizal on his 123rd death anniversary and martyrdom.
The commemoration rites started at 7a.m. with the ceremonial laying of wreath or floral offering at the Rizal monument in Plaza Salcedo in this city.
It was followed by a simple program centered on reflecting on what Rizal have done to achieve national identity and independence.
In his fraternal message, Vice Governor Jeremias Singson, also the immediate past supreme commander of the Knights of Rizal, commended everyone who joined in the commemoration activity to honor the sacrifices of the national hero, even if December 30 is declared as a regular holiday.
This year’s commemoration centers on the theme, “Jose Rizal: Huwaran ng Pilipino sa Ikadalawampu’t Isang Siglo” (Jose Rizal: Paragon of the Filipinos in the 21st Century).
“Truly indeed, Rizal must be the model of every civil servant – selfless, kindhearted, and always ready to offer services not minding his own self,” Singson said.
He added, “Let us therefore extend our understanding that beneath the celebration of holidays, we must conclude our year with the contemplation in our hearts that we have serve our fellowmen and we carry on our shoulders the responsibility to execute our mandate. This is our lofty obligation before the people, before the memory of Rizal and before the Almighty.”
During the program, Singson presented the students who won in the 57th edition of the National Rizal Youth Leadership Institute (NRYLI) competitions held at Teachers’ Camp, Baguio City on December 11-14, 2019.
The annual NRYLI is sponsored by the Order of the Knights of Rizal, a civic, patriotic, cultural, non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-profit organization whose aim is to honor and uphold the ideals of Dr. José Rizal.
It is highlighted by different contested events designed for both high school and college students from all over the country.
Meanwhile, Governor Ryan Luis Singson, in his message read by Provincial Administrator Cara Michelle Tabios, said “The sweat, tears, sacrifices and blood (of Rizal) can never be repaid. We can only continue to offer our respect, recognition and unwavering appreciation and gratitude as he lay down his life for the entire Filipino people.”
“Now 123 years later, his legacy continues, his life also teaches us two important lessons which are very timely today – the value of education and patriotism. Education was something valuable for him, he invested his time in school and that should be emulated by our youth and people in general. His quest for knowledge is prominent and reflected in his accomplishments. He taught us not to merely go to school but to learn in school,” the Governor said.
He added, “Also, value being loyal to our country. We need to acknowledge being Filipinos for us to bind with our roots. We need to be proud of who we are and who we can be. Thus, in every action, we learn to be conscious of our ways and do what is morally just and fair. Dr. Rizal taught us these in the most painful way through his death.”
To conclude, the Governor said, “To everyone today, I hope these lessons will serve as a motivator for you in the everyday things that you do. May we always be reminded of how our heroes laid down their lives for us to have a secured, happy-filled and bright future.” ●