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Sep 29th
Home Sections Feb. 14 Is Third Rizal Day: Launching a Rizal Advocacy (ISRA, a Dapitan-style Kibbutz System)
Feb. 14 Is Third Rizal Day: Launching a Rizal Advocacy (ISRA, a Dapitan-style Kibbutz System) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 14 February 2008 06:42

Remembering Rizal on Valentine’s Day 2014 and Launching a Rizal Advocacy

(Part One of an ISRA Series, as Updated) 


friends and I always remember on Valentine’s Day the Philippines’ foremost national hero, Jose P. Rizal Mercado, for he was probably the homeland’s most-famous bachelor. He was a dashing Romeo who captured the hearts of many women in Europe, Asia and of course in the Philippine archipelago. We remember finally Dr. Rizal for his great love of country, which was capped by his martyrdom before a Spanish firing squad on Dec. 30, 1896.

On Valentine’s Day 2015 is an opportune time to launch in Sorsogon (as the pilot province) the idea of an “International Society of Rizal's Advocates (ISRA).” It is geared to promote the ideas of Dr. Rizal – even in the field of developing a town like what he did in Dapitan (now a city in the Zamboanga peninsula on the Island of Mindanao).

The ISRA proponents think that all the socioeconomic problems of the Philippines can be solved if only the political and lay leaders of the country were to turn every town in the homeland into modern-day versions of Rizal’s Dapitan, which apparently our foremost national hero copied from, or was inspired by, the Kibbutz System of the Jewish people.

When he was exiled from 1892 to 1896 by the Spanish colonial authorities to Dapitan, Dr. Rizal was the only physician in town and he practiced socialized medicine. He probably introduced what the world now knows as the HMO (health-maintenance organization). He organized the farmers and fishermen into producers’ cooperatives and the other inhabitants into a consumers’ co-op.

He introduced modern agricultural methods to Dapitan farmers and imported agricultural machinery from the United States. He started the development of a piped-in potable-water distribution system and installed street lamps powered by coconut oil. He also started the building of affordable housing with pooled community labor four generations before Habitat for Humanity and its local Filipino version, the Gawad Kalinga, were even on the drawing board.

Dr. Rizal established a private school in Dapitan where the students paid their tuition by working in his collective farm and doing community work. He taught his students Spanish and English and at the same time, he continued his studies of verbal communications, so as to promote and protect the development of Filipino languages. During his exile in Dapitan, he learned the Visayan, Subanon and Malay tongues.

At Dapitan, he discovered and collected rare specimens that were named after him: Draco Rizali (a flying dragon), Apogonia rizali (a small beetle), and Rhacophorus rizali (a rare frog). Rizal conducted also anthropological, ethnographical, archeological, geological and geographical studies, the results of which he sent to scientist-friends in Europe for validation.

The ISRA proponents wonder how a people like the Filipinos could produce a great son like Jose P. Rizal Mercado—and other national heroes of equal valor, patriotism, intellect, morality and decency—and yet remain impoverished, with their national and local leaders feuding over the loots from corruption, and the nation’s educational and socioeconomic infrastructures crumbling for want of honest leadership? Is it not supreme irony for the Philippines to produce one of the greatest men in history but with the Filipino people unable to follow in his footsteps and practice his teachings?

The solution to the Filipino national and local problems is to turn every town in the Philippines into modern-day versions of Rizal’s Dapitan and/or a modern Filipino version of the Kibbutz of Israel.

Dr. Rizal would have been very sad today if he were alive. Filipino political leaders line their pockets with funds intended for rural development. Filipino languages are literally dying (pun intended) and not much is done to protect the environment. The country is still ruled by vested interests who have replaced the Spanish colonial authorities in the citadel that is The Imperial Manila. The Spanish friars have been replaced by Filipino priests and prelates but much of the scandals in the Catholic Church remain.

Even the Order of the Knights of Rizal – that the Philippine government recognized by enacting Republic Act 646 – is in disarray with its Supreme Council members feuding and suing each other in court.The Order of the Knights of Rizal has become irrelevant to the Filipino people and the Overseas-Filipino communities. Some of the ISRA’s proponents are members of the Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKR).

We have refused to pay our membership fees to the OKR, as we have found to our dismay for many years now that its leadership was content only in organizing national and international gatherings, reunions and conventions without exerting efforts to practice what Dr. Rizal preached. The OKR Supreme Council leaders were content just to put on their regal uniforms, display their medals and sashes, give speeches, pose for pictures and do nothing more. And of course the OKR headquarters continues to sell the official uniforms, medallions for every promotion it awards to the promotion-seekers (who essentially do nothing to promote the order’s mandated goals and objectives) and to collect the annual dues from members and chapters, so as to bankroll the convention trips of its officers.

The ISRA will have no membership fee, no uniforms to sell and no medal to be worn by members. Instead of calling each other as Sirs (or Ladies for the “Ladies of Rizal”), the ISRA members will simply call themselves “Brothers” or “Sisters.” We will use the rest of 2015 and 2016 to organize chapters that we will call as “franchises.” There will be no franchise fee. Instead, the core group will be distributing to all the franchises on a pro-rata basis any and all incomes derived from corporate sponsors and fundraising activities.

The ISRA will use the as its web site. While it is now only a section of the, it will soon become a formal web site of its own. It will probably be patterned after

To read the next article of this series, please click on this link:

The Parable that Is the Philippines (ISRA Series, Part 2)

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Last Updated on Saturday, 13 February 2016 20:06

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