I. Background of the study
We owe it to ourselves as Filipinos to revisit the writings of Dr. Rizal and try to gain an understanding of his ideals and hope for the Philippines. Dr. Rizal is a great gift of God to us, if we are to see it in a Christian perspective. But Dr. Rizal may be like a precious gift left unopened in the closet of our lackadaisical minds.
Participating in the events being held this year is a good way to open our hearts and minds to the dreams of Rizal for a progressive and enlightened Filipino nation. Reading and understanding his works will be another way for us to reach the goal of a truly free and independent Philippines.
In June 1892 Rizal left two sealed letters with a Portuguese friend “to be opened and published after my death.” In these letters Rizal explained to his family and his countrymen that he was returning to the Philippines to show by example that Filipinos knew how to die for principles.
This is the letter he wanted us to read, a letter that will illustrate to anti-Rizal advocates why Rizal is our national hero:
“The step that I have taken, or am about to take, is undoubtedly very risky, and it is unnecessary to say that I have pondered on it a great deal. I know that everyone is opposed to it but I realize also that no one knows what goes on in my heart. I cannot live knowing that many are suffering unjust persecution because of me; I cannot live seeing my brothers [hermanos] and their large families persecuted like criminals. I prefer to face death and gladly give my life to free so many innocent persons from this unjust persecution.
I know that, at present, the future of my country gravitates in part around me; that with my death, many would rejoice, and that, consequently, many are longing for my end. But what am I to do? I have duties of conscience above all else; I have moral obligations toward the families who suffer, toward my aged parents whose sights pierce my heart; I know that I alone, even my death, can make them happy by returning them to their country and the tranquility of their home. My parents are all that I have, but my country has many sons still who can take it to advantage.
Moreover, I wish to show those who deny us patriotism that we know how to die for our duty and for our convictions. What matters death if one dies for what one loves, for one’s country and for those whom he loves?
If I know that I were the only pillar of Philippine politics and if I were convinced that my country men were going to make use of my services, perhaps I would hesitate to take this step, but there are still others who can take my place, who can take my place to advantage. Furthermore, there are those who find me superfluous and in no need of my services, thus they reduce me to inaction.
I have always loved my poor country and I am sure that I shall love her until my last moment. Perhaps some people will be unjust to me: well, my future, my life, my joys, everything, I have sacrificed for love of her. Whatever my fate may be, I shall die blessing my country and wishing her the dawn of her redemption.” (The Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12/31/89)
The great part of Dr. Rizal’s relevance to the lives of Filipinos is, ironically, the fact that the social problems that our hero had fought for in his lifetime are tragically still plaguing our homeland today.
The violation of human rights, the iniquity between the ruling class and the majority of the masses, the medieval practice of the Christian faith, the corruption in the government and its bureaucracy and those controlling economic production are just as bad now, if not worse, more than 116 years after Dr. Rizal had sacrificed his life for his country.
B. Statement of the Problem:
This study aims to answer this question:
1. Why is Dr. Jose Rizal our national hero?
C. Significance of the study
College Students who is taking up the Rizal course: This research...