WREATH-LAYING RITES. Calamba City Mayor Justin Marc SB Chipeco leads city officials and residents in laying the floral wreaths before the bust monument of Calamba-born national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal in tribute and commemoration of the hero’s 122nd martyrdom at the hallowed grounds of the Rizal ancestral house, now the Jose Rizal Shrine and Museum, in Calamba City, Laguna on Dec. 30, 2018. (Photo by Saul E. Pa-a)
CALAMBA CITY, Laguna -- Calamba City and Laguna leaders led the 122nd Rizal Day commemorative rites on Sunday to pay homage to national hero and compatriot Dr. Jose Rizal’s martyrdom at the hallowed grounds of the Rizal ancestral house and shrine in the hero’s birthplace.
Sunday’s intermittent rains did not dampen the enthusiasm of grateful city folks as wreath-laying ceremonies were held simultaneously as early as 7 a.m. at the various Rizal monuments and historical landmarks at the Jose Rizal Plaza, Jose Rizal Memorial School, Barangay Sampalukan, Calamba Elementary School, and City College of Calamba (CCC) quadrangle.
By 8 a.m., the ceremonial sounding of the sirens reverberated throughout the streets across the cultural heritage sites, Rizal Shrine and nearby St. John the Baptist Church, where then infant Jose Rizal was baptized in 1861.
The Philippine Air Force ceremonial honors and escort battalion, led by Col. Reynaldo L. Bajet, commanding officer lent solemnity to the occasion as they accorded the 21-rifle salute with the band playing the taps and drum ruffles during the entry of colors and segued to the mass singing of the national anthem.
Just as the wreath of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was offered in front of the Rizal bust monument, Laguna Vice Governor Karen Agapay and city officials led by City Mayor Justin Marc Chipeco and Knights of Rizal, non-government organizations, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) shrine and museum officials took turns in the floral offering and wreath-laying.
Agapay thanked Duterte, who paid tribute to the Calamba-born national hero as “beacon and moral compass in challenging and perilous times” in the Chief Executive’s address during the Rizal Day rites last year.
“Ang kanyang (Rizal) paghahain ng buhay para sa pagmamahal sa bansa ay kanyang tugon sa tawag ng kabayanihan (Rizal’s sacrifice of his life demonstrates his love of country, and a call for heroism),” Agapay remarked.
She said not all Filipinos may be called upon like Rizal, but everyone may perform some kind of heroism, using intellectual capacities and capabilities to help fellow Filipinos and in the country’s development efforts.
“Ito ay para gamitin natin ang ating mga kakayahan upang gawing mas maunlad ang mga pamayananang kinabibilangan natin. Sa ganitong kadahilanan din, tayo ay tinatawag na magpamalas ng malasakit sa ating kapwa (We should use our skills and capabilities to help our respective communities prosper. It is for this reason that we are called upon to show compassion to our fellow Filipinos),” she added.
She stressed that heroism also calls for unity like one big family in the spirit of demonstrating goodness and compassion to one another as this will redound to benefit fellow Filipinos and lead the country to progress.
“If all of us would respond to Rizal’s heroism, then we could curb crime, problems on illegal drugs, garbage and environmental destruction, lessen the number of those who are hungry and a decline in poverty,” she emphasized.
She rallied Lagunenses and Calambeños to prove that the Philippines sustains its real tag as a country of heroes in perpetuating Rizal’s heroism and martyrdom, stressing “let us prove that we are worth the sacrifice the heroes have made.”
Meanwhile, Chipeco underscored the two essential traits among public servants as demonstrated by heart and compassion while reflecting on the commemorative rite theme “Rizal 2018: Talino at Malasakit sa Isa’t Isa, Pundasyon ng Isang Malaya at Maunlad na Bansa” (intellect and compassion for fellow men, the foundation for a free and progressive country).
“Isa sa pinakaimportante sa isang Pilipino at yung gustong maglingkod sa bayan ay ang pagmamahal, na may puso at malasakit sa sariling bayan (One of the most important (traits) of a Filipino and those who aspire to serve the country is love, through dedication at heart, and compassion for one’s country),” Chipeco said.
He said no matter how intelligent the person is but if this would not be shared and used to help fellowmen or to help in nation building, then that intellect will be naught, pointing to the guiding principle of using one’s intellect to make a difference in the lives of other people.
“Obligasyon natin bilang kababayan ni Dr. Jose Rizal na panatilihin natin ang pagdakila sa kanyang kabayanihan, at ipakita natin ang pagmamahal natin sa kanya at sa ating bayan (It is our obligation as Rizal’s compatriot to perpetuate and pay tribute to his heroism and show our love to him and for our country),” he urged, adding that “while we study to gain more knowledge, sharpen our minds, let us not forget the voices of our people.”
He reiterated the challenge to every Calambeño and Filipino to not put the memories of Jose Rizal in vain. (PNA)