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“We need to rectify the distortions, misrepresentations, even outright lies about Rizal being perpetuated in the academe as well as the mass media,” lamented Filipino educator Dr Floro Quibuyen yesterday after the commemorative Rizal birthday floral offering at Ibero-American plaza.
Dr Quibuyen said that these distortions called ‘cobwebs of history’ are blinding the community from seeing what could be learned from the Philippine national hero.
‘Cobwebs of history’ is a phrase used in a radio program Dr Quibuyen guested in and hosted by Gemma Cruz Araneta whose paternal great-grandmother was Doña Maria Mercado, a sister of Dr Jose Rizal.
“Because of these distortions, we have missed out on what we could actually learn from Rizal,” Dr Quibuyen reiterated.
Dr Quibuyen also said that the community should study the four years (1892 – 1896) that Rizal spent as an exile in Dapitan, Mindanao.
“We need to bring to light… the four years Rizal spent in Dapitan. They have not been fully explored for the light they can shed on contemporary issues in community development and education,” he said.
“In particular, the significance of the school he founded in Talisay has not merited scholarly commentary.
“Those fruitful four years in Dapitan have become Rizal’s most unappreciated legacy, yet they are precisely what make Rizal singularly relevant to the 21st century.”
He said that it is for this lack of commentaries that he would focus part of his talk on Rizal’s Dapitan exile in the symposium to be held on Saturday, June 23 at the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney.
The symposium, organised by the Sydney Chapter of the Order of the Knights of currently headed by the chapter’s Knight Commander Cesar Bartolome, is part of the activities of the Rizalian group in commemoration of the 151st birth anniversary of the Philippine national hero.
Dr Quibuyen retired from the University of the Philippines in 2008. He now lives in Sydney and he currently sits in the executive board of the Parents and Citizens Association of Fort Street High School (a selective school at Petersham, NSW). He still serves in the consultative board of the Philippine Center for Gifted Education, Inc.
His latest book is A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American Hegemony and Philippine Nationalism published in 2008 by Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Dr Quibuyen was plenary speaker on “Interrogating Rizal in the 21st Century: Back to the Future from Pasig to Talisay,” at the Rizal@150 International Conference in June last year.