Filipinos observe national hero’s birth anniversary

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Labor Attaché Rustico S.M. Dela Fuente, seated 4th from left, with fellow Filipinos who celebrated the birth of the late revolutionary Jose P. Rizal. With him are Emmanuel D. Mallari, Jr., 5th from left; Benny M. Quiambao, right; and Cenon “Nonie” C. Sagadal, standing 4th from left.

Labor Attaché Rustico S.M. Dela Fuente, seated 4th from left, with fellow Filipinos who celebrated the birth of the late revolutionary Jose P. Rizal. With him are Emmanuel D. Mallari, Jr., 5th from left; Benny M. Quiambao, right; and Cenon “Nonie” C. Sagadal, standing 4th from left.

Filipinos celebrated the 153rd birth anniversary of the country’s freedom-fighting national hero here recently.

Jose P. Rizal, born in Calamba, Laguna, on June 19, 1861, was considered a genius. He spoke 21 languages and studied in various fields. In Spain, he specialized in ophthalmology.

He was one of several Filipino expatriates in the European country who campaigned for freedom from the colonizers. Rizal was executed by firing squad at the Luneta by the Spanish on Dec. 30, 1896.

The Order of the Knights of Rizal-Central Region Chapter (OKOR-CRC) organized the event.

Labor Attaché Rustico S.M. Dela Fuente, who represented the Philippine Embassy, and Emmanuel D.
Mallari Jr., OKOR-CRC outgoing chapter commander, led the wreath-laying ceremony.

Dela Fuente spoke about the teachings and ideas of Rizal. “We’re sacrificing a lot for our families but we continue to be strangers as workers in Saudi Arabia. The irony of it is that we are also strangers in our own country when we go home,” Dela Fuente said.

The labor attaché based his comments on a poem written by Rizal, which deals with Filipino expatriates in European and other countries, and how they are treated when they return home.

Mallari, who will be replaced by Cenon “Nonie” C. Sagadal Jr. as OKOR-CRC commander, said Filipinos in the Kingdom should not rely solely on the government reintegration program to help them adjust to home life.

“We should also do something for ourselves. We should not totally rely on the government. We should in fact help it help us,” said Mallari, who works as an executive secretary at a local telecommunications firm.

The Philippine government, through its reintegration program, helps Filipino workers start businesses when they return home for good.

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