Characteristics of a National Hero

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  • Topic: Philippines, Philippine Revolution, Emilio Aguinaldo
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*Selection and Proclamation of National Heroes
and Laws Honoring Filipino Historical Figures|
Executive Summary 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.

Even Jose Rizal, considered as the greatest among the Filipino heroes, was not explicitly proclaimed as a national hero. The position he now holds in Philippine history is a tribute to the continued veneration or acclamation of the people in recognition of his contribution to the significant social transformations that took place in our country.

Aside from Rizal, the only other hero given an implied recognition as a national hero is Andres Bonifacio whose day of birth on November 30 has been made a national holiday.

Despite the lack of any official declaration explicitly proclaiming them as national heroes, they remain admired and revered for their roles in Philippine history. Heroes, according to historians, should not be legislated. Their appreciation should be better left to academics. Acclamation for heroes, they felt, would be recognition enough. 1. Selection and Proclamation of National Heroes 1.1 National Heroes Committee

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.

1.2 Findings and Recommendations of the National Heroes Committee

In compliance with Executive Order No. 75 dated March 28, 1993 , the National Heroes Committee submitted its findings and recommendations.

1.2.1 Criteria for National Heroes

The Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee held a series of meetings on June 3, 1993 , August 19,1993 , September 12, 1994 and November 15, 1995 , defining, discussing and deliberating upon the merits of the various definitions and criteria of a hero. The Committee adopted the following criteria as basis for historical researchers in determining who among the great Filipinos will be officially proclaimed as national heroes:

Criteria for National Heroes

(Adopted by the Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee on June 3, 1993 , Manila . Members of the Committee included Drs. Onofre D. Corpuz, Samuel K. Tan, Marcelino Foronda, Alfredo Lagmay, Bernardita R. Churchill, Serafin D. Quiason, Ambeth Ocampo, then known as Dom Ignacio Maria, Prof. Minerva Gonzales and Mrs. Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil)

1. Heroes are those who have a concept of nation and thereafter aspire and struggle for the nation’s freedom. Our own struggle for freedom was begun by Bonifacio and finished by Aguinaldo, the latter formally declaring the revolution’s success. In reality, however, a revolution has no end. Revolutions are only the beginning. One cannot aspire to be free only to sink back into bondage.

2. Heroes are those who define and contribute to a system or life of freedom and order for a nation. Freedom without order will only lead to anarchy. Therefore, heroes are those who make the nation’s constitution and laws, such as Mabini and Recto. To the latter, constitutions are only the beginning, for it is the people living under the constitution that truly constitute a nation.

3. Heroes are those who contribute to the quality of life and destiny of a nation. (As defined by Dr. Onofre D. Corpuz)

Additional Criteria for Heroes
(Adopted by the Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee on November 15, 1995, Manila)

1. A hero is part of the people’s expression. But the process of a people’s internalization of a hero’s life and...
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