Introduction: Rizal has always been considered as a national hero created in part by the American government in the past. The present government has no formal declaration of who our national hero is, but they do recognized special days in commemoration of the heroes in history like Rizal and Bonifacio. Let us examine the government effort in recognizing the possible national heroes of history in order to serve as an example for us. What is heroism? What does it take to be a hero? According to the dictionary: - a hero is a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities and regarded as an ideal or model - the central figure in an event, period or movement, honored for outstanding qualities - he/she is someone who shows great courage in an important event According to Dr. Esteban de Ocampo, a known Filipino historian, as stated in his book about Rizal that: “ a hero means a prominent or central personage taking an admirable part in any remarkable action or event; a person of distinguished valor or enterprise in danger, or fortitude in suffering; and a man honored after death by public worship because of exceptional service to mankind.”
Criteria of a national hero
Who will set the criteria for the recognition of the national hero? No law, executive order or proclamation has been enacted or issued officially proclaiming any Filipino historical figure as a national hero. However, because of their significant roles in the process of nation building and contributions to history, there were laws enacted and proclamations issued honoring these heroes. But according to historians, heroes, should not be legislated. Their appreciation should be better left to academics. Acclamation for heroes, they felt, would be recognition enough. On March 28, 1993, President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No.75 entitled “Creating the National Heroes Committee under the Office of the President”. The principal duty of the Committee is to study, evaluate and recommend Filipino national personages/heroes in due recognition of their sterling character and remarkable achievements for the country. The Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee had a meeting on June 3, 1993 in Manila and adopted the following criteria: 1. Heroes are those who have a concept of nation and thereafter aspire and struggle for the nation’s freedom. 2. Heroes are those who define and contribute to a system or life of freedom and order for a nation. 3. Heroes are those who contribute to the quality of life and destiny of a nation. In another round-table discussion held on November 15, 1995, the NHC Technical Committee further adopted the criteria submitted by Dr. Alfredo Lagmay, as follows: 1. A hero is part of the people's expression, but that process of a people's internalization of a hero's life and works takes time, with the youth forming part of that internalization. 2. A hero thinks of the future, especially the future generations. 3. The choice of hero involves not only the recounting of an episode or events in history, but of the entire process that made this particular person a hero. On November 15, 1995 , the Technical Committee after deliberation and careful study based on Dr. Onofre D. Corpuz’ and Dr. Alfredo Lagmay’s criteria selected the following nine Filipino historical figures to be recommended as National Heroes: a. Jose Rizal f. Marcelo H. del Pilar b. Andres Bonifacio g. Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat c. Emilio Aguinaldo h. Juan Luna d. Apolinario Mabini i. Gabriela Silang e. Melchora Aquino Laws Honoring/ Commemorating Filipino Historical Figures- for Dr.Rizal A. Decree of December 20, 1898 , issued by General Emilio Aguinaldo, declared December 30 of every year a day of national mourning in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal and other victims of the Philippine Revolution. B. Act No. 137, which organized the politico-military district of Morong into the Province of Rizal, was the first official step taken by the Taft Commission to...
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