Statement: The Presidential Spokesperson on the commemoration of Rizal Day 2012, December 21, 2012

Statement of Secretary Edwin Lacierda:
On the commemoration of Rizal Day 2012

[Released on December 21, 2012]

On December 30, we enjoin Filipinos both at home and abroad to commemorate the anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal. Chief among our pantheon of heroes, Dr. Rizal embodies the highest aspirations of Filipinos as a people and as a nation.

Rizal‘s devotion to truth, justice, and the civic virtues impelled him to deplore and expose the abuses of colonialism, resulting in his incarceration and eventual execution. It was through the gift of language and the written word that our national identity was formed: as the late Leon Ma. Guerrero described him, he was, indeed, the First Filipino.

On December 30 this year, we also commemorate the 75th anniversary of the proclamation of the National Language by President Manuel L. Quezon who, in the first radio broadcast by a President in the National Language proclaimed that day was “the fulfillment of the cherished aspiration of Rizal.”

The martyrdom of Rizal at Bagumbayan (today’s Rizal Park) was followed by the clandestine interment of his remains in Paco Park. Exhumed in 1898, his remains were kept by the Rizal family until December 30, 1912, in solemn rites, his remains were interred in the foundations of the Rizal Monument. Hence, this year also marks the 100th anniversary of the transfer of Rizal’s remains from the home of his sister to Luneta, where the Rizal Monument stands to perpetually honor his memory.

We remind our government bureaus of Republic Act 229, which requires of all institutions, public and private, to lower the Philippine flag to half mast in solemn commemoration of Dr. Rizal’s ultimate sacrifice. The same law also strictly forbids cockfighting, horse racing, and Jai Alai games on this day, with criminal punishment in the form of fines or imprisonment or both, for any official, citizen, or public or private institution that violates this law.

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Click here to learn more about Rizal Day and the National Language