BAGUIO CITY – National hero Jose Rizal was characterized by Congressman Mark Go, Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the event’s speaker Lt. Gen and Philippine Military Academy (PMA) superintendent Ronnie Evangelista, represented by his deputy, Brig. Gen Ferdinand Cartujano, during the Rizal day rites, Sunday morning, Dec. 30 at Burnham Park.

A hundred and twenty-two years from his martyrdom, the Philippine flag was raised and later flown at half-mast, in Rizal’s portion of Burnham Park, offered floral wreaths by city officials, accorded a twenty-one gun salute, and taps and ruffles.

Wreaths were also offered by other agency officials, Rizal monument barangay officials, free and accepted masons of the Philippine, Veterans, Knights of Rizal and Columbus, Kababaihang Rizalista, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation officials.

Lone district of Baguio Congressman Go hailed Rizal for spearheading through his writings, a united front for freedom against the country’s aggressors. Rizal’s loyalty is marked through sacrificial offering of life for country and fellowmen, Go said.

Love for country is not limited by age, wealth, or education, and we could chose to honor our country through good intentions, coupled with intelligence and limitless daily service; as Rizal did, Go added. Each could serve country and fellowmen through individual intelligence, skills and talents in culture and the arts, science and technology, industries, public service, in school and in work, in the community, Go further said.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan then chronicled Rizal’s last 24 hours of life; where family and strangers alike were approached with kind words and deeds. It was notable that the national hero never retracted his radical works, even with impending death. He deserves emulation for finding worthy causes to live and die for; such as the country’s freedom, the mayor ended.

Brig. Gen Cartujano noted Rizal’s monumental legacy in the arts and politics through the resolute will to fight against the Spaniards’ tyranic rule. Our national hero bravely spoke the truth to remove the chains of bondage, Cartujano said, thus did not live nor die in vain. Our bounden duty is to protect this hard-earned freedom, he further said.

Councilor Edgar Avila who delivered the closing message urged members of the community to emulate Rizal’s life, in words, and deeds.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Rizal:2018: Talino at Malasakit sa Isa’t Isa, Pundasyon ng Isang Malaya at Maunlad na Bansa.” (“Rizal 2018: Wisdom and Compassion, Foundation of a Free and Progressive Nation).”–juliegfianza