2012 (PHILSTAR) Delon Porcalla - The bashing never ends.

Even on the occasion of Bonifacio Day, President Benigno Aquino III would not let pass the chance to lambast his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, under whose nine-year term the Philippines had been mired in poverty and endemic corruption.

During the kick-off celebration in San Juan City yesterday to commemorate the 150th birthday next year of Andres Bonifacio, Aquino said that he managed to do what was deemed to be impossible during those dark years of Arroyo’s reign.

“Because of our unity and concern for others, we are now tracking the straight path,” he said.

Aquino stressed that the Philippines is now free, be it from colonization or deeply rooted corruption and that the country is ready to fight for what it duly owns.

Early this month, Aquino’s tirades against Arroyo - now under hospital arrest on charges of plunder and electoral sabotage - were ratcheted up to the international arena, as he made a pitch before his colleagues in the Asia-Europe Meeting in Laos.

In a speech he delivered before members of the 9th ASEM in Vientiane, Aquino blamed the mess and economic woes the Philippines suffered on the Arroyo watch.

“We suffered during the Asian financial crisis, followed by the nine and a half years of misgovernance,” Aquino said during the summit.

Noy: We will never be short of Bonifacios, Rizals or Ninoys By Delon Porcalla

[PHOTO - Protesters burn an effigy of the Philippines' President Benigno Aquino during a protest against Aquino's labor policy which they said favours foreign investors at the expense of local workers' rights, outside the presidential palace in Manila November 30, 2012. The protesters on Friday also commemorated the 149th birth anniversary of a national hero Andres Bonifacio. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES)]

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino urged yesterday Filipinos to strive amid obstacles and difficulties, the way Andres Bonifacio did in fighting for the country’s freedom from Spain.

Speaking on the 149th birth anniversary of “the Great Plebeian” at Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan, the President said Filipinos must go beyond their personal limitations, overcome fear and doubt, and take inspiration from the bravest heroes in Philippine history.

“We must always remember that we are a nation of heroes. We will never be short of Bonifacios or Rizals. We will never be short of Ninoys. We will never be short of Filipinos who are ready to answer the call for the sake of flag and country,” he said in Filipino.

He said the anniversary serves as a tribute to Bonifacio, whose legacy in fighting for the nation’s independence should serve as a reminder of present-day issues the country has to do battle with.

He said despite the losses Bonifacio suffered in his battles, the Supremo never gave up the fight for freedom, which should serve as an inspiration to Filipinos – that all forms of hardships will definitely end.

“Let us not be defeated by our own limitations. Let us not be defeated by fear and doubt that scarred our history. Let us not allow those who will try to bring back the bondage of the past,” he also said in his speech.

Aquino also ushered in Bonifacio’s sesquicentennial celebration set in 2013, when the hero, who died in 1897, would have celebrated his 150th year.

“In recognition of the sacrifices of Bonifacio and the thousands of our forefathers who gave their lives, our duty is simple: We all have a role in molding our country,” Aquino said.

He also imagined that as he spoke, there would be another “Pepe” in Calamba who would write to bring change, another “Teresa” in Iloilo who would say she will never surrender, and another “Andres” in Tondo who would fall but would rise again and who would dream to fulfill the nation’s destiny.

“This is the new face of heroism. This is the essence of the sacredness of this place where we are gathered today; that in the past, now, and in the days to come, there will be Filipinos who are ready to answer the call and will fight so that we can safely sail to a correct and straight path,” the President added. – Rey Galupo, Sandy Araneta


Andres Bonifacio honored, remembered on his 149th bday Published on December 1, 2012 By MARYA SALAMAT Bulatlat.com

[PHOTO - BACOLOD. Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson (5th from left), with other councilors lead the celebration of Andres Bonifacio Day at his shrine in the elementary school. (Contributed Photo)]

“The best way to pay tribute to Bonifacio is to carry on with his struggle for national independence and genuine democracy. Our protests this Nov. 30 form part of that struggle.” – KMU

MANILA – Filipinos celebrate this Nov 30 the 149th birthday of the man they call as the great plebian, Andres Bonifacio. But unlike in usual government-sponsored celebrations marked by a one-time laying of wreath, some short speeches in hurried programs, token souvenirs to commemorate the hero, progressive peoples’ organizations nationwide prepared for a simultaneous whole day of mass actions. In fact, they were also the most visible in heralding Bonifacio’s 150th by next year.

“The best way to pay tribute to Bonifacio is to carry on with his struggle for national independence and genuine democracy. Our protests this Nov. 30 form part of that struggle,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

The labor center said the ideals for which Bonifacio had fought and died for are “yet to be achieved by Filipino workers and the people, as their realization are being hindered by the continuing dominance of US imperialism over the country and the Aquino government’s puppetry.”

Bonifacio organized and led the Katipunan (Kataas-taasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan mga Anak ng Bayan) more than a century ago. It was the first armed revolutionary movement that consciously fought to end foreign domination of Filipinos. The Katipunero’s revolt against Spanish colonialism succeeded and resulted in the founding of the first Philippine republic.

But the young republic was soon engaged in a bloody, brutal war with a new imperialist power at the time, the United States. In this war, a large part of the Filipino population reportedly died as they tried to continue what the Katipuneros started and to defend their new republic. History books record how that war formally ended with the new colonizers ruling the country, while training and rewarding some Filipino elite to rule based on their interests.

By that time, Bonifacio had been murdered by forces from a section of this Filipino elite. Still, his aspirations for freedom from foreign domination and prosperity for Filipinos continue to gain adherents.

But even before the US-trained elite leaders formally took the reins in what most progressive groups derisively call as “a US puppet government,” Filipino revolutionaries continuing where Bonifacio left off had begun to be called names. In the 1910’s onwards they were called as bandits; in the 1950s onwards they were branded as communists; in the 1990s up to now they are “terrorists.”

To honor Bonifacio is to continue his struggle

“Bonifacio would not be pleased by the dumping of US troops’ toxic wastes in Philippine seas and by the expansion of US military presence in the country. He would definitely be angered by the Aquino government’s pro-imperialist and pro-elite policies,” Soluta of KMU said.

The labor center said Bonifacio would have detested the impoverished state of the country’s workers and farmers, and he would have decried the continuing concentration of lands in the hands of a few.

They blame the Aquino government’s flat refusal to increase daily wages nationwide by P125 ($2.98), and its imposition of wage cuts via its newly introduced two-tier wage system, on this government’s subservience to “dictates of foreign and local big capitalists.” In doing this, the Aquino government, like its predecessors, is squeezing Bonifacio’s fellow workers “to boost the profits of big capitalists,” the KMU said.

International surveys reveal that compared to other countries, workers in the Philippines are some of the lowest paid.

In the various programs held to remember Bonifacio, different union leaders slammed the combined trend of imposing a wage freeze for some and wage cuts for others among the working people. Calling the present government led by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III as a “cheap labor president,” they brought many placards and big streamers with their calls for wage hikes.

“Bonifacio fought for land reform, for the distribution of the friars’ lands among the farmers. He would definitely be revolted by the refusal of a haciendero president to implement a genuine land reform program and his collusion with big landlords who are grabbing farmers’ and national minorities’ lands,” Soluta said.

In Metro Manila, thousands of workers, professionals, students, women, migrant workers, urban poor and peasants, from various labor groups and other sectoral organizations, gathered at Liwasang Bonifacio in the morning, marched to the US Embassy via Kalaw Ave. after lunch, where they were blocked by the police and a fire truck, and then they proceeded to Mendiola to conduct their main program.

They burned at least three United States flags, plus one shirt with the US flag printed on it, used to be worn by Renato Reyes, secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

In the long marches of protesters from the Liwasang Bonifacio to the US embassy, and later to Mendiola (non Chino Roces Bridge), they brought an effigy of a militarily-armed Aquino, hiding a can of imported toxic waste behind him, while dancing Gangnam style. Aquino’s effigy was burned as soon as the marchers reached Mendiola.

KMU regional chapters in Cordillera, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Panay, Cagayan de Oro, Caraga and Southern Mindanao regions also held various protest actions in their cities and communities on Nov 30.

“While the Aquino government continues to boast about so-called economic growth, our protests will show that hunger, poverty and unemployment have become unbearable. Our Nov. 30 protests is just a start, as we vow to hold bigger protests in the coming months,” Soluta said.

Aside from KMU, other groups such as driver and operators from Piston, health workers, youth and students, women, migrant worker, the urban poor launched simultaneous mass actions from their communities in the morning, before proceeding to join the others at Liwasang Bonifacio before lunch of Nov. 30.

Most urged the others and the public to become like modern-day Andres Bonifacio. Gat Andres Bonifacio, the underrated hero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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