“Con el recuerdo del pasado en el porvenir.” “I enter the future remembering the past.”
It has been 120 years since the pride of the Malay race confronted us, opening our eyes to the social cancer the Philippines has been suffering from.
In an era when our people were kept silent, Dr. Jose Rizal had the courage to expose a serious illness the Philippines was suffering from – an illness caused by oppression and lack of education. His audacity eventually awakened the people’s nationalism and spark a burning flame among our countrymen.
Our ancestors fought a good fight, they said. The Philippines achieved the liberty that its people wanted, they added, but I couldn’t be satisfied. I couldn’t enjoy the freedom that I’m supposed to appreciate, knowing that the social cancer that existed during Rizal’s time has never left.
Time has passed and this disease continues to destroy our motherland. The cancer cells in the form of corruption, crab mentality, selfishness, and absence of unity among our people have kept on growing. Little by little, killing our beloved motherland. Sometimes, I think to myself that the cancer is a curse that Dr. Rizal predicted to exist forever.
What have we become as a nation? We say that change is coming, but what can we risk to achieve the change that we dream of? It’s easy to declare our affection for our mother land, but are we ready to imbibe the same kind of love that Rizal has offered our country? Do we, from time to time, re-examine our traits and values as citizens of the Philippines?
Rizal’s writings challenge us to effect change in our society. He was the first to have the courage of talking about the country’s concerns publicly.
Today, I am challenging you to make Dr. Rizal irrelevant. Yes! Make him irrelevant. Make him irrelevant by killing the cancer that has been the country’s problems since his time. It is what he has been wanting for so long. He needs us to end the problem!
The social issues Dr. Rizal exposed have yet to be fully removed, but if we work together, we can rebuild and change our nation! Let’s take his heroism to brand-new heights and work towards curing the cancer plaguing our nation.
Instead of pulling each other down and striving for superiority, let’s lift each other up and attempt for everyone’s success. For we all know, everyone’s success is our country’s triumph!
We must support our government but remain vigilant on its manner of leading us. We cannot let oppression and corruption happen. Complaining never solved our country’s issues. We must act and work towards our country’s healing.
My dear friends, this is the meaning of Rizal’s message: “Con el recuerdo del pasado en el porvenir.” “I enter the future remembering the past.” We need to read him, and not just read about him. Our recollection of the past will aid us in welcoming the future.
Dr. Rizal believed that the country’s redemption presumes virtue, and virtue presumes sacrifice, and sacrifice presumes love. May his philosophy on patriotism be an inspiration as we take the necessary steps and actions toward change and positive redemption with virtues, sacrifices, and love — all for our country.
As we move forward together, let us kill the social cancer and end this curse that has haunted us for decades! Let‘s unite and show the world that we are capable if we are cohesive.
Time and again, history has proven that as one nation, our goals can be achieved… together.