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Commemorate August 23, 1896, the Cry of Pugad Lawin: The Start of the 1896 Revolution

by FQSN/AJLPP-USA Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2006 at 1:31 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

There are limits to what the cedula and terrorist killings can accomplish in keeping the restive Filipino people cowed into submission. Aspiring Mini-Me Dictator Arroyo must realize that Dictator Marcos’ brazen terrorism and iron-fist rule did not last indefinitely. And like the Cry of August 23, 1896, the Filipino people will once again rise up and fight their oppressors. The Filipino people will finish the unfinished Philippine Revolution against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism until they become truly sovereign and free.

FIRST QUARTER STORM NETWORK (FQSN) – U.S.A.

A Member of the Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines (AJLPP)

San Francisco, California

PRESS STATEMENT

August 23, 2006

Reference: Guillermo Ponce de Leon, 415-573-5304

Commemorate August 23, 1896, the Cry of Pugad Lawin: The Start of the 1896 Revolution

With deep pride and happy hearts, the First Quarter Storm Network (FQSN)-USA commemorates this auspicious day, August 23, 1896. Today is the 110th anniversary of the famous Cry of Pugad Lawin, Balintawak (now a part of Quezon City). It signaled the start of the Philippine Revolution of 1896 which dealt the European power Spain its first defeat in Asia as a western colonial power.

On that day, hundreds of Katipuneros gathered at the front yard of the hut of the son of Melchora Aquino. With bolos and fists and the red flag unfurled up in the air, the Katipuneros brought out their cedulas, tore them up, and cried for independence. This declaration commenced the armed uprising which lasted four years and eventually liberated the people of the Spanish colony in the Far East which also included Guam, the Carolines and Wake Islands.

The Philippine Revolution of 1896 also gave birth to the first democratic republic in Asia far ahead of the modern Chinese Revolution of 1911. But an ascendant capitalist western power, the United States, hungry for colonies of its own and harboring imperialist designs, burst into the scene and nipped the nascent Philippine republic in the bud.

This new monopoly-capitalist power “annexed” the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico by virtue of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris with Spain, an agreement among colonial powers that did not bother to take the opinion of the Filipino people into account. The colonial acquisition of the Philippines, in effect, turned the Pacific Ocean into an “American lake.”

The Philippine Revolution would not have succeeded against Spanish colonialism were it not for the five years of painstaking ground work and organizing of the clandestine society of the Katipunan which was led by its supremo, Andres Bonifacio. This secret organization prepared the ground for the launching of the armed revolution. The Katipunan successfully galvanized the hopes and aspirations of millions of Filipinos who were oppressed and exploited by the Spanish colonialists and channeled their collective energy into a powerful force that would eventually cast off Spanish tyranny.

On this day, we reaffirm Andres Bonifacio as the father of the Philippine Revolution and pay tribute to this great plebian, the lowly bodeguero, who founded the Katipunan. Bonifacio came to symbolize liberation through armed revolution and decisive action of a unified and organized people against injustice and oppression, whereas Dr. Jose Rizal came to represent the mere aspirations and hopes of the ilustrados, the enlightened middle class, which vacillated in moments of crisis and challenge and adversity.

The Americans, of course, brutally suppressed the Filipino people in a subsequent war of reconquest which cost the lives of nearly 1.5 out of seven million Filipinos at the turn of the 20th century. Anxious to eradicate revolutionary consciousness among the surviving Filipino subjects, the Americans actively promoted the myth of “benevolent assimilation” and achieving illusory change and reform under its colonial tutelage. They actively promoted Rizal and consciously disparaged Bonifacio and the revolutionaries of the Katipunan as “tulisanes” and social outcasts instead of acknowledging them as heroes and martyrs of freedom. Nevertheless, in the scales of history, Bonifacio’s contribution to the liberation of the Philippines outweighs that of Dr. Jose Rizal who renounced the revolution until his death in December 1896.

We maintain that all innuendos against Bonifacio by certain historians are not only unkind but also very ungrateful. These historians have tried to diminish the stature of Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio by saying that he never won any battles during the revolution. Not having studied the history of many countries, these historians are oblivious to the common fact that some of those who led their revolutions were not successful in their battles and were even martyred by their enemies. Examples of this include Fr. Hidalgo of Mexico, the Irish Republican forces in their Easter Uprising of 1916 and the Bolsheviks during the Russian 1905 Revolution, to name a few.

Even General Emilio Aguinaldo was not the real victor in the battle of Binakayan, Cavite that dealt the Spanish their first defeat in the field in November 1896. Actually, it was Generals Mariano Alvarez and Artemio Ricarte who led the troops, but it was Aguinaldo who claimed the victory being the senior commander of the joint Magdiwang-Magdaló forces.

The Significance of August 23 Today

The August 23 Cry of Pugad Lawin has a very special significance today as the modern-day tyrant and current US puppet President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is trying to stem all opposition to her rule and impose a fascist terrorist regime in the Philippines. Today, they are conducting themselves even worse than the foreign oppressors like the Spanish colonialists, the American occupation forces and the Japanese invaders who also imposed the cedula among the people. They are even worse than Dictator Marcos’ fascists who looked for cedulas and oppressed the ordinary people in the streets and in the barrios.

After several hundred years, the cedula has come to symbolize tyranny and oppression in the eyes of the Filipino masses. It was a way for the oppressors to monitor every movement of the people. The Spanish colonialists instituted a reign of terror against the people. They used to guillotine patriots like Padres Gomez, Burgos and Zamora or execute them by firing squad like Jose Rizal in full public view to strike fear and terror into the hearts of the Filipino subjects just as Gloria Arroyo’s masked motorcycle-riding killers assassinate her political opponents to terrorize Filipinos today to prevent them from massing up in the streets and acting decisively to topple her unpopular and increasingly reviled fascist regime.

Indeed, there are limits to what the cedula and terrorist killings can accomplish in keeping the restive Filipino people cowed into submission. Aspiring Mini-Me Dictator Arroyo must realize that Dictator Marcos’ brazen terrorism and iron-fist rule did not last indefinitely. And like the Cry of August 23, 1896, the Filipino people will once again rise up and fight their oppressors. The Filipino people will finish the unfinished Philippine Revolution against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism until they become truly sovereign and free. #





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