By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers

(August 1996)

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IZAL'S ESSAY, "The Philippines, Within A Century" (usually translated as "...A Century Hence") spoke of how Spanish rule destroyed our native culture, our sense of community and self-esteem. The Katipunan moved to reverse that destruction. It gathered (and was itself a gathering of) persons and communities imbued with its revival of our native honor and sense of kapatiran

Bonifacio's "Dekalogo" and Emilio Jacinto's Kartilya promoted moral, ethical and spiritual values to set the tone and standard for the birthing of the nation in the 1896 Revolution.

But starting with the factionalism in Cavite (contrary to popular misconception, the Magdiwang and Magdalo were factions of only one provincial chapter of the Katipunan) and the Aguinaldo leadership's preference for form rather than morals and ethics, much less Katipunan spirituality, the campaign for values formation and inculcation began to suffer defeat.

This defeat was practically completed when the US invasion and occupation forces decisively overpowered the Filipino revolutionaries and began to promote colonial mentality and a culture of acquiescence, corruption and opportunism. This is the Filipino as they are viewed now, a far cry from the spiritual, honorable and brotherly/sisterly Tagalog envisioned by the Katipunan. And this development has had a degenerative effect on our readiness to assert real national sovereignty and democracy.

Although extremely difficult, it is not too late to work for a national rebirth. The series of revolutionary centennials, starting with that of the Katipunan founding (1992), the present Sentenaryo '96 and ending with the inauguration of the Republic at Malolos and the start of the Philippine-American War (1999), has been giving us an occasion for commemoration and real education about the spirit of it all.

I have had the honor of initiating and leading Kamalaysayan's long-term campaign for widespread personal adoption of the Kartilya ng Katipunan, and the people;s receptivity to its fourteen points has been very encouraging. The campaign has since been given geometric expansion by a respectable number of those who have pledged to live by these lessons.

What began in 1992 as a simple Kartilya-centered ceremony called "Pagtitipon ng mga Anak ng Bayan" has since become a full-blown gathering process and even accelerated in the present year of Sentenaryo '96 . Of course, it is much easier to solemnly declare intentions to live by the Katipunan spirit than to actually do it especially in such a milieu that we now find ourselves. But it is definitely a significant start.

It may be said that the Katipunan has been revived in its essence, in its spirit, as a movement. But Kamalaysayan has taken care not to transform this gathering process, this movement, into an organization, that could end up in quarrels over leadership, policies, and funds. Organizations may adopt it, serve it, and likewise be served, but no organization may claim exclusive, or even major, franchise. 

We feel that it is better that way. The gathering ( pagtitipon ) process of people who would live the ideals of kapatiran have no need for organizational formalities than can only negate such ideals.

(Kamalaysayan Media Service)



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