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Rizal: Edukasyon

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Rizal insists on Education as the Instrumental for Social Progress. A major contribution to the making of the Filipino nation was Rizal’s insistence on the education. He considered this as cornerstone of the reforms of the country. In his desire to improve the lot of the people he saw the need to educate them first. To him reforms would not mean anything at all if the people did not understand them. Only education could make this possible. Here lies the primacy of education.

He was to show them that education stands as the foundation of society. Through the mayor of San Diego in the Noli Me Tangere, Rizal stated the role of education in national development: A school is being founded and the school is the basis of society, the school is the book in which is written the future of the nations! Show us the schools of people and we will show you what a people are.

Rizal pleaded to government authorities to take steps to improve the education of the Filipinos: Rizal wrote, “That the cause of our backwardness and ignorance is the lack of means of education, the vice that afflicts us from the beginning until the end of our careers.”

Rizal advanced all possible arguments in favor of the Filipinos’ need for education. “Without education and liberty – the soil and the sun of mankind no measure can give the desired result”, wrote Rizal. Rizal’s appeal for education was not contrary to Spain’s aim at Christianizing the Filipinos. Rizal warned Spain against the possible outcome that may arise from denying the people the benefits of education. The enriching events of Rizal’s study abroad made him see how education could bring social progress. And this he directed toward the development of national sentiment. Rizal’s desire to share with his people what he had learned during his studies in Spain, France, Germany and his observations in London and Belgium became his supreme aspiration. The noble aspiration was a major step necessary in national development. Rizal consistently urged his fellowmen to do everything they could do for the education of their generation. Rizal gladly assures Blumentritt who was interested in the education of the Filipinos that the efforts of the Filipinos in educating their n countrymen were guided by vigor. THE PEOPLE’S WELFARE IS THE CONCERN OF GOVERNMENTS.

Another contribution of Rizal to the building of the Filipino nation was his soul searching endeavors in crystallizing the true function of the government and how these functions may be carried out for the benefit of the people. The Filipinos were being prepared to work for national ideals compatible with their status as a freedom-loving people. Rizal’s endeavors were geared in arousing national consciousness along a program for national development. After a thorough study of colonial administration, Rizal argued that the main function of any government, including the governments of colonies, is the promotion of the people’s welfare. Rizal’s stay in Spain, France, Germany, and London, Belgium enabled him to study how the government in these countries functioned. He learned a number of policies and practices which proved useful in the campaign for reforms. A colonizing country must know her colony. This was one of the important policies Rizal observed. The rulers did not understand their subjects. This was a condition he knew existed in the colonial government. A second observation was on the status of the Philippines under Spain’s colonial system of administration.

In this discussion with Blumentritt, Rizal disagreed with Blumentritt’s opinion that the welfare of the country must be suppressed in the interest of the state. He wrote: The Philippines is not Spain. She only belongs to Spain. The happiness of Spain is not the happiness of the Philippines but indeed her misfortune. The third and timely observation made by Rizal about colonizing power revolves around the use of prudence and tact. He strongly believed that the rulers should employ these in dealing with their subjects. The fourth current observation was the rulers’ lack of concern for the governed. This was the basis for his attempt at convincing his countrymen to aspire for paternal treatment from the government. Rizal and the other Filipinos in Spain advocated a policy of assimilation. This was later changed to a campaign for freedom. Rizal believed that the Philippines was a crown colony, he stressed that the Philippines should be treated by Spain in the same manner as any other Spanish province where Filipinos would enjoy the same “inalienable rights” as her citizens. In his El Filibusterismo, Rizal suggested justice, reason and welfare of the people as bases for Spain’s colonial policy.

Sandoval said, “Let us remind the Spanish government that we have faith in its good intentions and that it should be guided by no other standard justice and the welfare of all the governed.” Isagani said, “I should think that governments the basis of prestige for colonial governments is the weakest of all, since it does not depend upon the consent of the governed, while the latter are willing to recognize. The basis of justice or reason would seem to be the most durable.” To keep the loyalty of the Filipinos to Spain, the policy of the government must be sincere and consistent. Such a policy will be advantageous for both the Filipinos and the Spaniards. But if this policy is ignored the Filipinos will resent systematic exploitation. Rizal wrote, “We wish the policy to be sincere and consistent or highly civilizing, without petty reservations, without distrust, without fear nor misgivings, wishing the good for the sake of the good, civilization for the sake civilization without ulterior thoughts of gratitude or ingratitude, or if not, a policy of courageous, open exploitation, tyrannical, and selfish without hypocrisy or deception, with a well thought out and studied system for domination and compelling obedience, for ruling to get rich, and getting rich to enjoy.”

Rizal foresaw how social progress was possible if there was cooperation between the government and the people. This was his sixth critical observation in his study of the progress of nations. Rizal understood the principle of government authority as fundamental but he also believed that the authority of the people was greater and more fundamental. Edilberto Evangelista, one of the brave generals of the Philippine Revolution who died in Cavite during the Filipino-Spanish encounter in that province, and who was one of the students who was with Rizal in Ghent, Belgium, recalled Rizal’s thoughts on the sovereignty of the people.

Rizal said to Evangelista, “The best and most modern policy is that which is evolved in the full light of the sun and power is not in the government but in the people.
Rizal expressed what Spain must do to keep the love of the Filipinos and pleaded to Spain for kinder treatment so that the Filipinos
may appreciate the sweetness of peace.
If the government needs the support of the people, it must keep the lines of communication open. A paternalistic government could do no less. This seventh observation is in accord with an important function of any government.

In a conversation between Isagani and Señor Pasta, Rizal discussed lucidly why the government must not oppose requests from the people.
Rizal’s Nationalistic Mission Through More Reforms. Conscious of the right of the Filipinos to request an improvement in their life, Rizal presented several other reforms to the Spanish government. This activity as a reformer demonstrated Rizal’s positive leadership.

All the reforms requested by Rizal were initially in accord with the policy of assimilation espoused by him and his fellow reformists in Spain. They were designed intended to instill in the minds of the Filipinos. These reforms were intended to instill in the minds of the Filipinos courage, fortitude, perseverance, self-abnegation, and a broader outlook in life.

As early as January, 1887, Rizal made known to Blumentritt the major reforms he hoped for his country.
In the Noli Me Tangere, he asked for radical reforms in the armed forces, in the priesthood, administration of justice, paternal treatment from the government, respect for man’s dignity, more security for the individual, less force in the armed forces, fewer privileges for the civil guards who so easily abuse what they have.

In the report he prepared on the conflict between the owners of the hacienda in Calamba and the tenants, Rizal asked the government to formalize a written contract between the tenants and the owners of the land or to sell the land to those who were tilling them. And the report was an eye-opener on land tenancy conflicts.

In several articles he wrote in La Solidaridad, Rizal asked Spain to grant good reforms two of which were the freedom of the press and representation in the Spaniards Cortes. Freedom of the press will enable Spain to know the throbs of public opinion and the deputies will enable the Filipinos to participate in the government for the good of Spain and the Philippines.

In his El Filibusterismo, Rizal pointed to a number of useful principles of administration and guides to human signification essential in the political life of the people. These were: (1) Secularization of the parishes and the distributing the curacies as they become vacant among the secular priests who could well be either Filipinos or Peninsular Spaniards. (2) Reform in all branches of the administration. (3) Encouragement of primary education and removing friar intervention in it. (4) Higher salaries for the deserving. (5) Opportunity for appointment to the government. (6) Improvement of the moral tone of the administration. (7) Creation of schools of arts and trade in provincial capitals of more than 16,000 people. (8) Freedom of religion.

Rizal lamented Spain’s failure to grant the reforms asked. Whatever reforms that came from the authorities ended in non-implementation. The Ultimate means at Nation-Building Is National Unity. Rizal’s greatest contribution to the building of the Filipino nation was his untiring efforts in urging his countrymen to work together for national unity, a condition of national survival. He recognized the subordination of personal interest and comfort to the national good. Any change in the social order was a moral obligation of any Filipino suffering from injustice and oppression. Rizal viewed the refusal of any individual in fighting injustice as a form of social evil. Any man, therefore, who refused to fight injustice, is not for the welfare of society.

In a letter to Rev. Father Vicente Garcia, Filipino doctor of Sacred Theology, private counselor to Archbishop Pedro Payo of Manila, Rizal stressed the ideal of social justice which will unify his people.

This call for national unity was inspired not only by the principle of social justice but it stemmed from his observation that “a man in the Philippines is only an individual; he is not a member of a nation” and that in the Philippines there was individual progress and not national progress. Here you have the individual as the only one who improves and not the species.

Rizal never lost faith in the capacity of his people to work together in spite of these observations. He realized that at times, selfish egoism dominated some of his fellow reformists. But he expressed that this individualism could be overcome.

The campaign to make the Filipinos enjoy the blessings of freedom, liberty and progress needed the whole0hearted support of those working for reforms. Rizal continuously reminded his fellow co-workers to remain united.

Rizal wrote to Graciano Lopez Jaena, “Union in championing the rights of the Filipinos, must be preserved at any cost.”
Rizal showed by his examples what unity meant in the struggle to form the Filipino nation. He requested the writers in La Solidaridad to give up using pseudonyms.
When he was told by Mariano Ponce that some Filipinos did not give their encouragement to have the Noli Me Tangere circulated in Madrid, Rizal did not mind it.

When Rizal was unjustly charged of disrupting the unity of the Filipino in Madrid because many of them favored his leadership of the Filipino Colony, he wrote to Juan Zulueta, the secretary of the Propaganda Committee: “I want to be everything except to be a disturber of the union which since childhood I have wished for my countrymen.”

To his fellow reformists, he left a fitting advice that is very timely today in meeting the challenge of building a new social order.

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