'Heneral Luna' biographer tells 2016 voters: Bayan bago sarili


“Bayan bago ang sarili. That’s what the movie should be extolled for.”

This is what historian Dr. Vivencio Jose wants the Filipino audience, most especially 2016 voters, to remember most from the film "Heneral Luna."

Jose is the author of "The Rise and Fall of Antonio Luna," the book where director Jerrold Tarog's critically acclaimed film was based.

Aside from the historical debates Heneral Luna has fired up, Jose said Filipinos should also distinguish relevant political issues to be addressed - such as installing the right leaders in the government.

“I think we should try to see the movie as a whole. It’s an education in patriotism, in commitment to liberation and democracy. In pursuing goals relevant for forming the nation and advancing the interest of the nation through the action of the collective leadership, but under a more enlightened, educated, far-seeing leadership,” Jose said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

In this endeavor, Jose pointed out media's crucial role in helping the voters decide.

“The telling should be done by, among others, the mass and social media,” he said.

Jose also added that Luna's biopic should prompt schools and other institutions to change the way history is being taught among the youth, considering that some historical accounts have certain biases as "it's always the winner who writes history."

“Kailangan ipakita natin ‘yung kabuuan ng bawat persona. And when you have all those qualities of the persona, then you can choose which of them should be advanced and nurtured and pushed forward on,” he said.

Luna's biographer also explained that questions over the heroism of certain icons in Philippine history continue to surface due to efforts in the past, even up to the present, to discredit the revolutionaries in favor of those who were in power.

“They demonized Andres Bonifacio and Antonio Luna even as some, only some, demonize the book up to now, because they cannot accept the fact that what is happening now is a cultural encounter between the truth and then the falsity of it all,” he said.

Brash and hot-tempered as Luna might have been portrayed, Jose said it is nothing compared to the heroic general's sense of nationalism where Filipinos, he said, should draw their inspiration in light of historical and political disputes.

“He (Luna) had enormous, unending, constant confidence in the power of the people to change society,” Jose said.