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Legarda Honors Rizal the OFW and Cultural Worker

June 20, 2019

On the commemoration of the 158th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal (June 19), Senator Loren Legarda honored the Philippine national hero, one of the first overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and a cultural advocate.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, together with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Philippine Ambassador to Germany Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega, offered flowers in front of the marker at Rizal’s old apartment in Jaegerstrasse corner Glinkastrasse in Berlin, Germany.

As they offered flowers, Palanca awardee Consul Catherine Torres recited a poem she wrote, “Para sa iyo, Dr. Rizal, alagad ng sining na nagbigay dangal sa ating lahi dahil sa’yong galing. Para sa iyo, Dr. Rizal, sinaunang OFW na nakipagsapalaran sa ibayong dagat upang itaguyod ang bayan mo. Para sa iyo, Dr. Rizal, isang dakilang sugo na nagsilbing tulay sa magkabilang panig ng mundo.”

Legarda described Rizal as an unparalleled visionary whose thoughts and actions greatly influenced the country’s social and political landscape.

“Dr. Rizal’s ideas began the revolution that earned us our freedom, and his integrity and nationalism continue to inspire new generations. I hope we can continue to be inspired by his values and principles, especially his nationalism, which involves respect for our heritage,” she said.

The Senator was also among the guests at the National Day Reception organized by the Philippine Embassy in Berlin where she continued to honor Dr. Rizal. It was in Berlin where Rizal’s most famous novel, Noli Me Tangere, was first published.

Legarda said that the national hero was also an environmentalist and a cultural advocate who had expressed the need to embrace one’s roots.

“He loved his native tongue even while he was fluent in several foreign languages. He recognized the exceptional artistry and craftsmanship of Filipinos and was fond of indigenous Philippine textiles. Many of his works also describe the beauty of the Philippines and its people. If we can all emulate Rizal’s nationalism—his pride in our culture and heritage, his respect for our environment and natural resources, and his belief in the strength of the Filipino people—then, maybe, it would be less challenging to achieve the kind of freedom that we aspire today: freedom from poverty, discrimination, violence and apathy,” said Legarda.

“Like Rizal and our national heroes, who shared the vision of independence and united towards its fulfillment, all of us must unite now to move forward towards our desired progress so we may truly be a strong, independent nation,” Legarda concluded.