By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers

(August 1996)

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ELL INTO THE CENTENNIAL MONTH (August 1996) of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, we of KAMALAYSAYAN are still being asked why we are trying to "move heaven and earth" to make at least the simple majority of our people participants, not mere spectators, in the commemoration of Sentenaryo 96, the centennial of the 1896 Philippine Revolution. The simple reason is that August 1896 was the time of the BIRTH OF OUR NATION. Since it is the nation itself that is celebrating its 100th birthday, why should only a fraction of it, a minority, join the celebration?

There are those who question the historical basis of this assertion of ours about our nation having been born in the grand upheavals of August 1896. To them the outbreak of the 1896 Revolution was simply the start of armed hostilities between Filipinos and Spaniards, the shedding of blood that led to something they are too confused to understand. The confusion may have been engineered about a century ago, especially by the American invaders who misrepresented Bonifacio and the Katipunan simplistically as unlettered firebrands, in contrast to Rizal who was educated and peaceful and to Aguinaldo who was good enough to collaborate with them, fight them but ineptly, and finally surrender to them.

We have to remind these kababayans of ours that before the Katipunan was formed, our people rose up against Spain only in separate and therefore quelled revolts. It was only from the time of the Katipunan that we started acting as one, as a nation, and not as an archipelago of disparate, even conflicting, parochials.

To be sure, the conflicts among regions, among provinces, and among towns and tribes and clans and even families still abound, but none has yet negated the nationhood that we attained in Balintawak in August 1896. We talk here of nationhood, not of independence which is most controversial, to say the least, considering the wording of Aguinaldo's Acta de Independencia (which actually declared a protectorate) and considering our present situation dominated by policies of international usury and globalized economies.

Perhaps, the present confusion among still many Filipinos about "which centennial" to observe is not a product of any deliberate moves to make our people ignore the August 1996 centennial. Although there are people who would shudder at the very mention of the word "revolution," because they simplistically equate that profound political concept to the spilling of blood, we feel that the bigger problem is still the utter lack of sense of history among the majority of our people. But we are trying to help change the situation by enjoining everyone to celebrate with us the 100th birthday of our nation and honor our heroic heritage, especially as expressed in the noble lessons and spirit of the Katipunan.

We still have a few weeks remaining in August 1996 to join the celebration. Anyone who wants information on the scheduled commemorative activities may request from us through telephone number (632) 9248585. Huwag nang maghintay pa! Sali na tayong lahat sa Sentenaryo '96.

(Kamalaysayan Media Service)



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