29 Sep The Call of Heneral Luna

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JUAN SAYS: Watching Heneral Luna and Bonifacio Ang Unang Pangulo in 2014 had left one question in the minds of many: Why on earth is Emilio Aguinaldo a National Hero in the first place?
 
In both stories Aguinaldo was depicted as the man behind the killings of both Antonio Luna and Andres Bonifacio. However many historians say that the blood of Heneral Luna was not in the hands of Aguinaldo. But as the movie depicted and as read in many history books, it was Aguinaldo’s men who killed both Luna and Bonifacio. While Bonifacio’s death is already an open-shut case with Aguinaldo admitting to killing him “para sa bagong republica,” Aguinaldo’s men claim that their killing Luna was an act of self defense. Inunahan na nila ang Heneral, bago pa sila ang unang mapatay nito. But 30 gun shot wounds and cuts from bolos do tell a different story.
 
It is a pressing question as we are all moved by these two films shown in two succeeding years, under the same producer. But historians believe that young Filipinos must go beyond the films and encourages each one of us to read up on history, then form a conclusion.
 
These movies tell us more than just the heroism of these two gallant defenders of our country. If anything, it humanizes them by showing us that human beings (Aguinaldo included) are flawed. Heroes are not exactly perfect. And while they may fight for our country, each person’s strategy or the way of achieving the goal is very different from the next hero. Bonifacio didn’t have the knack for strategizing. He was after all just another “common” Filipino oppressed by the system of those times. Luna had his flaws too. His temper got the best of him when he was responsible for showing the Spanish where Jose Rizal and other Katipuneros were hiding. Parang maka-pili lang. Nagtuturo ng mga kakampi.
 
Both Bonifacio and Heneral Luna reflect the kind of Filipinos we are today. Sa totoo lang, wala namang nagbago. Lahat tayo pare-pareho ng hangarin. Inaabot sa magkakaibang paraan. The government system is still full of corruption. The marginalized poor are still oppressed and taken advantaged of by the oligarchs and the politicians. Inexperienced presidents and politicians are still surrounded by trapos. It is the same banana.
 
What then do these movies tell us? What then do these movies invoke in us? What then do we do about it? We remain reactive, yet we still don’t get it. We often times call for change, but we still don’t do it. We are still on the same boat as 100 years ago and there are still no signs of getting off it. We rock the boat by airing our disgusts about the government, we rock the boat by taking it to the streets whenever we are displeased with the current government. We overthrow presidents peacefully. But truth be told, there still remains the change that we have been clamoring for. Asan ka pagbabago, bakit ba kay ilap mo?
 
2016 should be our chance to make that change. We have the power to vote for who we think is the best person to lead us to that change. But Binay, Poe and Roxas are still the Aguinaldos our time — pressed by economic and social problems, surrounded by trapos or they themselves are the trapos. History repeats itself. We are just sick and tired of it.

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