Today is December 30 and Philippines commemorate the day when our national hero, Jose Rizal die for the honor of the country.
JOSE RIZAL, the national hero of the Philippines and pride of the Malayan race, was born on June 19, 1861, in the town of Calamba, Laguna. He was the seventh child in a family of 11 children (2 boys and 9 girls). Both his parents were educated and belonged to distinguished families. His father, Francisco Mercado Rizal, an industrious farmer whom Rizal called “a model of fathers,” came from Biñan, Laguna; while his mother, Teodora Alonzo y Quintos, a highly cultured and accomplished woman whom Rizal called “loving and prudent mother,” was born in Meisic, Sta. Cruz, Manila.
At the age of 3, he learned the alphabet from his mother; at 5, while learning to read and write, he already showed inclinations to be an artist. He astounded his family and relatives by his pencil drawings and sketches and by his moldings of clay. At the age 8, he wrote a Tagalog poem, “Sa Aking Mga Kabata,” the theme of which revolves on the love of one’s language. In 1877, at the age of 16, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree with an average of “excellent” from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. In the same year, he enrolled in Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas, while at the same time took courses leading to the degree of surveyor and expert assessor at the Ateneo. He finished the latter course on March 21, 1877 and passed the Surveyor’s examination on May 21, 1878; but because of his age, 17, he was not granted license to practice the profession until December 30, 1881. In 1878, he enrolled in medicine at the University of Santo Tomas but had to stop in his studies when he felt that the Filipino students were being discriminated upon by their Dominican tutors.
On May 3, 1882, he sailed for Spain where he continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid. On June 21, 1884, at the age of 23, he was conferred the degree of Licentiate in Medicine and on June 19,1885, at the age of 24, he finished his course in Philosophy and Letters with a grade of “excellent.” Having traveled extensively in Europe, America and Asia, he mastered 22 languages. These include Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Malayan, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, Tagalog, and other native dialects. A versatile genius, he was an architect, artists, businessman, cartoonists, educator, economist, ethnologist, scientific farmer, historian, inventor, journalist, linguist, musician, mythologist, nationalist, naturalist, novelist, ophthalmic surgeon, poet, propagandist, psychologist, scientist, sculptor, sociologist, and theologian. He was an expert swordsman and a good shot.
In the hope of securing political and social reforms for his country and at the same time educate his countrymen, Rizal, the greatest apostle of Filipino nationalism, published, while in Europe, several works with highly nationalistic and revolutionary tendencies. In March 1887, his daring book, NOLI ME TANGERE, a satirical novel exposing the arrogance and despotism of the Spanish clergy, was published in Berlin; in 1890 he reprinted in Paris, Morga’s SUCCESSOS DE LAS ISLAS FILIPINAS with his annotations to prove that the Filipinos had a civilization worthy to be proud of even long before the Spaniards set foot on Philippine soil; on September 18, 1891, EL FILIBUSTERISMO, his second novel and a sequel to the NOLI and more revolutionary and tragic than the latter, was printed in Ghent.
Because of his fearless exposures of the injustices committed by the civil and clerical officials, Rizal provoked the animosity of those in power. This led himself, his relatives and countrymen into trouble with the Spanish officials of the country. As a consequence, he and those who had contacts with him, were shadowed; the authorities were not only finding faults but even fabricating charges to pin him down. Thus, he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago from July 6, 1892 to July 15, 1892 on a charge that anti-friar pamphlets were found in the luggage of his sister Lucia who arrive with him from Hong Kong. While a political exile in Dapitan, he engaged in agriculture, fishing and business; he maintained and operated a hospital; he conducted classes- taught his pupils the English and Spanish languages, the arts. The sciences, vocational courses including agriculture, surveying, sculpturing, and painting, as well as the art of self defense; he did some researches and collected specimens; he entered into correspondence with renowned men of letters and sciences abroad; and with the help of his pupils, he contracted water dam and a relief map of Mindanao- both considered remarkable engineering feats.
His sincerity and friendliness won for him the trust and confidence of even those assigned to guard him; his good manners and warm personality were found irresistible by women of all races with whom he had personal contacts; his intelligence and humility gained for him the respect and admiration of prominent men of other nations; while his undaunted courage and determination to uplift the welfare of his people were feared by his enemies. When the Philippine Revolution started on August 26, 1896, his enemies lost no time in pressing him down. They were able to enlist witnesses that linked him with the revolt and these were never allowed to be confronted by him. Thus, from November 3, 1896, to the date of his execution, he was again committed to Fort Santiago. In his prison cell, he wrote an untitled poem, now known as “Ultimo Adios” which is considered a masterpiece and a living document expressing not only the hero’s great love of country but also that of all Filipinos. After a mock trial, he was convicted of rebellion, sedition and of forming illegal association. In the cold morning of December 30, 1896, Rizal, a man whose 35 years of life had been packed with varied activities which proved that the Filipino has capacity to equal if not excel even those who treat him as a slave, was shot at Bagumbayan Field.
Did you know that.
The Rizal Day bombings, also referred to as the December 30 bombings and 12/30 attacks, were a series of bombings that occurred around Metro Manila in the Philippines on December 30, 2000. The explosions occurred in close succession within a span of a few hours. Twenty-two (22) fatalities were reported and around a hundred more suffered non-fatal injuries.
The blasts occurred during a national holiday in the Philippines, where December 30 is known as Rizal Day, commemorating the martyrdom of the country’s national hero, José Rizal.
Five locations were bombed almost simultaneously within the span of an hour. All of the locations were situated within the greater Metro Manila area on the Philippine island of Luzon.
- A bomb exploded at Plaza Ferguson in Malate, Manila. This particular blast site is located less than a hundred meters from the United States Embassy.
- Another bomb detonated at a gasoline station in the Makati central business district. The target was a gasoline station along EDSA, across the street from the Dusit Hotel in Makati. Two policemen, members of the local bomb squad, died as a result of this explosion.
- The cargo handling area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was also targeted with at least one explosive device.
- Another explosive device was detonated inside a bus traveling along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). The bomb exploded while the bus was en-route in the Cubao area of Quezon City. One passenger was killed while several others were injured.
- The explosion that claimed the most casualties occurred in a train cab at the Blumentritt station of the Metro Manila Light Rail Transit.
Type of explosive employed
The Philippine National Police identified the bombs as one-kilogram blackpowder bombs, set to detonate using timing devices.
In addition, confessions by the convicted perpetrators describe the bombs as ammonium nitrate-based explosives. Most of the components of the bombs such as blasting caps and detonating cords were discovered to have come from the city of Talisay in the southern province of Cebu. The town itself is known for the production of blasting caps used in illegal fishing.
Initially, various Islamic groups were implicated in the bombings, including the Jemaah Islamiyah, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Moro National Liberation Front.
In September 2003, almost three years after the incident, the case remained unsolved as the authorities responsible were berated by then-senate president Franklin Drilon.
In May 2003, Saifullah Yunos (aka Mukhlis Yunos), a suspect in the bombings, was arrested in the southern city of Cagayan de Oro as he was about to board a plane to Manila. Police were alerted to the suspect when he failed to explain numerous bandages on his face and arms. A month later, he confessed to a level of involvement in the bombings. A member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s special operations group, he was charged with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder for his role in the bombings.
In the following years, several members of the Jemaah Islamiyah were arrested for their suspected involvement in the bombings. In 2004, two Muslim men, Mamasao Naga (aka Zainal Paks) and Abdul Pata (aka Mohamad Amir) were arrested by Philippine armed forces in Marawi City. They were supposedly identified by Fathur Rahman Al-Ghozi, a known member of the Jemaah Islamiyah, as the ones responsible for the LRT train cab bombing.
The MILF and the MNLF were later cleared by the Philippine National Police of any involvement in the attacks.
Fathur Rahman Al-Ghozi, an Indonesian national and member of the known terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison for illegal possession of explosives in relation to the Rizal Day bombing incidents. In July 2003, Al-Ghozi, along with several other accomplices, escaped from their holding cell at Camp Crame. Al-Ghozi was later killed in a firefight with Philippine authorities on October 13, 2003.
In December 2006, almost six years after the bombings, Metro Manila police went on heightened alert from bomb scares and the prospect of follow-up attacks on the anniversary of the bombings. The AFP followed suit days after, deploying numerous bomb squads and medical teams to both Fort Bonifacio and Luneta. In addition, the PNP’s Explosives and Ordnance Division and SWAT deployed teams to LRT stations along Taft Avenue, near one of the original bombing sites.