MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has made a proposal to move the date of the national observance of Rizal Day from December 30 to June 19, through Senate Bill 2743.
As the nation commemorates the National Hero’s 150th birth anniversary this year, Marcos said now is the right time to set historical records and significance by which we should pay tribute to Rizal.
“It is fitting then that Filipinos commemorate Rizal Day on June 19 as a day of triumph of his nationalism and patriotic ideals,” the Senator said.
Marcos believes that Rizal’s birthday should be celebrated and observed as a national holiday, rather than observing a holiday that commemorates the hero’s death.
“The birthday of our national hero should always be a day of celebration of his life and of his great contribution to the country’s independence from foreign domination,” said Marcos.
John Nery, senior editor and columnist at the Philippine Daily Inquirer and author of Revolutionary Spirit: Jose Rizal in Southeast Asia , believes that moving Rizal Day to a new date may lead to confusion.
Nery called the proposal a “mistake."
“I'm against this proposal recommended by [Senator] Bongbong Marcos that we should move Rizal's anniversary to June 19. I think that's a mistake. That will confuse people,” Nery told ANC’s “Headstart” on Friday.
Nery said as Filipinos prepare to celebrate Rizal's 150th birth anniversary, they must continue to honor the day of his martyrdom separately.
“December 30 is our oldest continuing holiday. [Taong] 1898 pa lang, it was already an official holiday,” he said.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines earlier requested that June 20 be declared as a special non-working holiday to celebrate the sesquicentennial of Rizal's birth instead of the actual birth date of June 19, which falls on a Sunday.
Malacañang has subsequently declared June 20 as a special non-working holiday throughout the country through Proclamation No. 154.