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Honor also the Nunos, Arquizas, etc.

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While it took us quite a long time to convince our local government to confer the appropriate and commensurate level of recognition, distinction, or accolade to deserving outstanding Zamboangueños, we are extremely appreciative and grateful that the particular person  who we consider to be the greatest revolutionary hero, GEN.VICENTE SOLIS ALVAREZ not only of Mindanao but throughout the Philippines, had finally been given a rightful place in history for his unparalleled military feat of successfully capturing the biggest Spanish  fortress (Fort Pilar) in Mindanao which subsequently caused the turn-over of Spanish Sovereignty over the Philippine Islands by the last Spanish Governor-General DIEGO DELOS RIOS who surrendered on May 18, 1899 to General Alvarez. We started this move as early as 2005 at the Western Mindanao Sate University when we launched the book, “Mindanao: Where the Castilian Lion Roared Last” principally featuring GEN. VICENTE S. ALVAREZ and HADJI ABDULLA NUÑ0 of Taluksangay.

While we do appreciate the initiative of our local government to recognize and bestow fitting honorific memorials to Gen. Vicente Solis Alvarez and other equally deserving revolutionary and political figures in history, it is sad to note that other native military and political figures in the annals of our city have not been given their due honor or recognition as what was bestowed on Gen. Alvarez and the rest. We hope this is not another case of cultural bias but really just an innocent oversight.

Let’s avoid the proclivity of lavishly honoring one particular individual with so many memorials using huge amount of taxpayers’ money while those who put their precious lives on the line and underwent supreme personal sacrifices to free us from the clutches of colonial oppression, tyranny, and slavery are left without even a centavo worth of remembrance and accolade. The rightful persons to be honored are those who did outstanding and extraordinary sacrifices and services for the nation or humanity without receiving any salaries and other forms of compensations for accomplishing patriotic, humanitarian, and heroic feats.

Perhaps it is only in “Asia’s Latin City” where you don’t find any indigenous freedom fighter against Spain or other colonial powers honored with a name of a major thoroughfare or even just a dwarf monument. Was there no ethnic warrior or patriot really deserving this kind of memorial? Kindly tell me if my observation is wrong.

If one reads the accounts of local historians, they commonly reveal in very significant and proud manner, the indispensable and vital role that the powerful and highly respected Muslim leader of Taluksangay, HADJI ABDULLA NUÑ0 in the victorious siege on Fort Pilar which led to the surrender of the last Spanish Governor-General Diego delos Rios who made his most honorable but futile defense of Spanish sovereignty over the Philippine Islands. Yet, in spite of the immense and invaluable contribution of Hadji Abdulla Nuño in the liberation of the Philippines from the Spanish colonial regime, we don’t see any in accord and fitting honorific memorial for this famous native freedom fighter.

Also prominently mentioned by local historians to have offered immeasurable contributions to the cause of the revolution against the Spaniards in Zamboanga was NESTOR   ARQUIZA who was appointed as the administrator of the revolutionary government, while MARIANO ARQUIZA became the first elected president of the Zamboanga Republic, the only genuine de facto First Republic of the Philippines based on available historical accounts.

Aside from HADJI ABDULLA NUÑ0 and the two ARQUIZAS, historians also underscored the military, civic, and patriotic contributions, cooperation, coordination, and moral support of MAJ.MELANIO CALIXTO, CAPTS.  JUAN RAMOS, and GOWITO (according to Dr. Ronie Bautista, probably) GREGORIO SEBASTIAN, and SALVADOR CAMINS who was appointed secretary-general of the Zamboanga revolutionary government according to the historical accounts of Dr. Ronie Bautista.

Collectively also, the LOS VOLUNTARIOS and the LOS DEPORTADOS, and all the valiant native fighters coming  from the various ethnic groups of Zamboanga Peninsula who selflessly, bravely, voluntarily enlisted themselves and fought fearlessly under the unified command of General Vicente Solis Alvarez, should be fittingly and duly honored and recognized for without them, the last Spanish Governor General, DIEGO DELOS RIOS, would have not surrendered and handed to the Zamboanga Revolutionary Army the sovereignty of Spain over the Philippine Islands on May 18, 1899,and not on June l2, 1898.

WHO WILL TAKE THE INITIATIVE OF HONORING THE NUÑOS, ARQUIZAS, AND OTHERS? OF COURSE, NOT THEIR RELATIVES FOR IT CERTAINLY WOULD APPEAR SELF-SERVING AND CONTRARY TO ETHICS.

By Clem M. Bascar




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