On this day, while we rest, recharge, and spend time with family during the holiday season, let us take a moment to honor and remember our national hero, Jose Rizal, who 122 years ago was martyred fighting for the dignity of every Filipino.
In these times when ruthless practicality is foisted on us as virtue, and when respect for individual dignity is maligned as weakness, Rizal stands as a reminder that true freedom always goes hand in hand with kindness and integrity.
In a moving passage in El Filibusterismo, he declares:
“Hate never produces anything but monsters and crime criminals! Love alone realizes wonderful works, virtue alone can save! No, if our country has ever to be free, it will not be through vice and crime, it will not be so by corrupting its sons, deceiving some and bribing others, no! Redemption presupposes virtue, virtue sacrifice, and sacrifice love!”
Ultimately, WE must be the change we wish to see.
This Rizal Day, may we take this reminder from our national hero to heart. And may we find in ourselves the courage and serenity to work for his vision of a Philippines free from hate, division, and tyranny, and where the dignity of every Filipino is upheld.