I have traveled to several places in Asia, South America, Europe and North America as a student, business executive and lawyer.
For sometime now, my wife and I have been receiving invitations to join my sister and her husband on a cruise that is usually coupled with land tours.
We never got around to accepting first, because the cruises were too long (two weeks or more) and second, the cities involved in the land tours were places we had already visited.
But last month we accepted the invitation because the cruise was only 7 days with an additional 3 nights in Madrid, Spain.
I have never been to Madrid. I have always wanted to see, envision and trace the movements of Jose Rizal and the other members of the Propaganda Movement during a very important period in our history.
I was always interested in drawing parallelisms between and among the propagandists in the 19th Century led by the likes of Jose Rizal, Lopez Jaena, del Pilar, and other members of the Propaganda Movement who operated in Madrid; those in the 20th Century such as the members of Anti-Marcos groups led by Raul Manglapus and Ninoy Aquino who operated in Washington, D.C.; and today’s bloggers, columnists, Twitters, Facebook status updaters, commentators and other opinion-makers of both the main media and social networks in this 21st Century.
When I wrote an article entitled, “Old 4Gs to New 4Gs Gaining Ground,” It elicited a reaction from Danny Benavente, a resident of Southern California but born and raised in my hometown of Rosales, Pangasinan, Philippines.
He said, “Brilliant! Just plain brilliant!!! This one can resonate to as far and to the highest public office in the PI!”
He followed it by another comment, “Do we now have in you, a Dr Rizal of the 21st century? I BELIEVE SO!!”
I responded with the following: “Danny, thanks for your comments and great COMPLIMENT! I have been compared to some famous men before but Dr. Jose Rizal? Coming from you, I am taking it as a real compliment. Though this reminds me of San Beda Prof. Regalado (who obtained the highest grade in Bar exams history) when he told us, "A praise undeserved is a slander in disguise." Being abroad and still concerned about the Philippines, there is really a Rizal in all of us. It is not unlike the Propaganda Movement in Madrid, Spain crying for reforms during his and Lopez Jaena's time. So, thank you again for the compliment.”
During the darkest hours of Martial Law, when the Philippines was governed by a dictator named Ferdinand Marcos, there were also efforts abroad by both Filipino-Americans and exiled Filipinos to expose the atrocities and abuses of the dictatorial regime. Like the La Solidaridad during the time of Rizal, there were also publications, articles and books written to influence and advocate changes in U.S. policies that favored or supported dictatorial regimes. The targets for these advocacies and lobbying efforts were the U.S. Congress, the White House, and the U.S. State Department.
One active organization leading the propaganda efforts was the Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP) led by Raul S. Manglapus and later joined by Ninoy Aquino who was imprisoned by Marcos for several years. We all know what happened to Aquino at the airport in Manila while under the “care” of Marcos soldiers. Like Rizal, he also died for the Philippine cause.
What also impressed me during those years was the involvement of real Filipino doctors like Rizal. They campaigned, funded, and led without fear until the U.S. administration reversed its policies and supported the Filipino people’s desire to recapture their freedom and dignity through the People Power Revolution.
Subject to further additions in a future article that would also describe their respective roles, let me mention some of them as I remember them at this writing:
- Dr. Arturo Monteiro
- Dr. Renato Roxas
- Dr. Art Taca
- Dr. Cesar Climaco
- Dr. Augusto Climaco
- Dra. Climaco
- Dr. Fariñas
- Dr. Manolita Balasa
- Dr. Butch Orbeta
- Dr. Mario Baguio
11. Dr. Quiambao
12. Dr. Cesar Candari
13. Dr. Aurora Perez
14. Dr. Rolando Perez
15. Dr. Ecarma
They were the Dr. Jose Rizals of the 20th Century. There were of course, non-doctors who also fought and struggled fighting for the return of democracy in the Philippines. Bonifacio Gillego who led the research and exposure of Marcos’ Fake Medals and Gaston Ortigas, who was the Executive Director (Secretary-General) of the Movement for a Free Philippines and Alex Esclamado, editor/publisher of the Philippine News, which was virtually the propaganda arm of the Anti-Marcos movement.
While the Philippines had been politically freed from the tyrants of the 19th and 20th Centuries, it is still not economically free. Poverty, hunger, and corruption remain prevalent.
Overseas Filipinos, now heralded as modern day heroes, have kept the country economically afloat for years because of their money remittances.
The “Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” policy of the current government seems to be working. Many Filipinos abroad support it and are quite optimistic about the country’s future.
Now, accorded with easier, faster, and more affordable, accessible and available forms of communication, Filipinos are asserting their rights and want more say in the way their country is governed.
Join the Propaganda Movement of the 21st Century.