Because of his pivot to China and the jokes of making the Philippines a China province, President Rodrigo Duterte has earned the ire of nationalists and the opposition. Well, the President may be joking but do you know that he is not the only one who wanted the country to be a province of a foreign power?
Aside from Ely Pamatong who wanted the Philippines a part of the United States, our very own national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, who is celebrating his 159th birthday this June 19, 2020, also dreamt of making the Philippines a province of Spain. His concept was simple: Inequality between the Spaniards and the Indios will vanish if the Philippines will be elevated to a provincial status rather than a colony. Just like the fight of the Afro-Americans in the United States, “Brown Lives Matter, too!”
Many tried to defend Rizal’s pronouncement and tried to twist a bit his concept. That included Luis Lisa and Javier de Pedro in “Romance and Revolution: A Look Into the Lives and Times of Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken” who said that Rizal just hated violence and would want political freedom for the Indios. Unfortunately, they failed to explain how Rizal enjoyed his rendezvous in Spain and why, from all the letters inside Noli and Fili, no attack was ever written against Spanish Crown.
As I explained in “Idolizing Jose Rizal“, Pepe may have set his heart to be a Spanish citizen but that doesn’t diminish his being a hero.
Actually, Rizal can even be considered not just as a Philippine hero but also the hero of the world. In the times when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was still non-existent, in the times when colonialism was a “fad”, there is this individual whose height may be short but had the courage to stand among the giants to cry against oppression, tyranny and in-equality – at least of the races. That is something the family of Rizal, his descendants, and the Filipinos should be proud of.– Idolizing Jose Rizal, Biklish.Com
In addition, while he was advocating the Philippines to be a province of Spain, he was not as imposing as some political figures are. He walked his talk of exercising political freedom and let the Filipinos collectively decide what they want with the Philippines. Otherwise, he should have revealed Andres Bonifacio’s plot to the Spaniards. Again, these are some of the things that his descendants and the Filipinos should be proud of.
And for his 159th birthday, amidst the wars against COVID-19 and President Duterte’s illegal drugs, let us salute this Little Brown Spaniard, Dr. Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal, and join him in his conviction that “Brown Lives Matter, too!”