The Making of a Philippine National Hero

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Date Submitted: 09/05/2016 11:22 PM

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The making of a Philippine national hero

A s the country spends this long weekend to mark National Heroes Day tomorrow, August 31, The Sunday Times Magazine decided to look into the process of how a Filipino—whose love,  loyalty, and allegiance  to country is both admirable and immeasurable—is officially proclaimed a Philippine icon of the highest esteem.

Does a hero’s life story need to be presented to a particular body? Does thorough research need be done to authenticate one’s valor for country? Does a Filipino need to be martyred to become a national hero?

With all these questions, The Sunday Times Magazine excitedly began its own research into the making of a Philippine national hero, only to be met, however, by surprising and complicated revelations.

No such hero

“No law, executive order or proclamation has been enacted or issued officially proclaiming any Filipino historical figure as a national hero.”

Jose Rizal has never been proclaimed a national hero

This is what the “Selection and Proclamation of National Heroes and Laws Honoring Filipino Historical Figures” has stated in the 2002 executive summary report done by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). According to Alvin Alcid, chief of research of Publication and Heralding Division of NHCP, this was submitted to the Reference and Research Bureau and Legislative Research Service of the House of Congress.

Based on this official document, even Dr. Jose Rizal who is taught in school as the Philippine National Hero, has never actually been conferred this title. Nevertheless, NHCP clarifies that the position Rizal now holds in the Philippine history is a tribute and honor to a national hero.

“However,” the statement clarified, “because of their significant roles in the process of nation building and contributions to history, there were laws enacted and proclamations issued honoring these heroes.”