100-Day Countdown to the Victory at Mactan Quincentennial
Posted on 24 January 2021
By Rene R. Escalante, Ph.D.
Message read by Mr. Alvin R. Alcid, OIC, Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Projects, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, during the 100-day countdown to the D-Day of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines, on 17 January 2021 at the Liberty Shrine, Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City
To our fellow members in the National Quincentennial Committee Sec. Michael Dino and Usec. Ramon Cualoping III, to our host Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, to Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Lapu-Lapu City Lone District Representative Paz Coro-Radaza, and to all our guests, maayong gab-i.
Let me read to you the message of Dr. Rene Escalante, National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairperson and National Quincentennial Committee Executive Director. Even though he’s not physically present, the members of the National Quincentennial Committee and other national government agencies are in the Lapulapu Monument at Rizal Park, Manila right now. Our event is currently being beamed at Rizal Park. They will also have their own event right after ours at 7 pm.
Let me now read the content of his message:
It is public knowledge that during the 2016 presidential campaign, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte promised to elevate Lapulapu to a greater standing among the pantheon of Filipino heroes. Serendipitously, the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Lapulapu’s victory in the Battle of Mactan on 27 April 2021 is one of the momentous events within the ambit of his administration. In 2018, he created the National Quincentennial Committee, by issuing Executive Order No. 55 for this event. It is currently chaired by no less than Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. The Executive Secretary is being assisted in running the day-to-day operations of the committee with a Secretariat house under the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, supervised by its Chairperson, yours truly, Rene Escalante, in concurrent capacity as Vice-Chairperson and Executive Director.
The Covid-19 pandemic currently afflicting humankind, has, unfortunately, affected the preparations for the quincentennial commemorations. Yet this will not deter our plans to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime historical event. The values gained from the experiences of our ancestors and the lessons learned from the events that transpired 500 years ago remain an integral part of our heritage—as a triumphant and heroic people—more so in this time of crisis. This ethos was embodied when Jose Rizal began to rewrite our nation’s history from our own point of view. He inspired Juan Luna to create an artistic tribute to this victory of our ancestors. Emilio Jacinto, likewise, invoked the memory of Lapulapu in reminding the Katipuneros that they were noble and great. And on the very document proclaiming Philippine independence, read in Cavite on 12 June 1898, memorialized Lapulapu and the Victory at Mactan. The founders of our nation, the first democracy and republic in Asia, elevated Lapulapu as a national hero, so to speak.
Lapulapu and the Battle of Mactan remain anchored in every generation’s imagination and sentiment. And as a humble gesture of our time, the committee, together with various government agencies and local government units like the Office of the Presidential Affairs in the Visayas which is represented by Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino through Asec. Jonji Gonzales as a member, the Presidential Communication Operations Office represented by Usec. Ramon Cualopong III (who is now with us tonight), and Lapu-Lapu City Government under Mayor Ahong Chan, conduct this 100-day countdown to the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan. Earlier, we witnessed the declaration of the Liberty Shrine as a site of the permanent display of the National Flag. Both the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the National Quincentennial Committee acknowledge the victory of our ancestors in the Battle of Mactan as a common heritage and pride of the Filipino people. Among the places in the country enjoying the 24/7 status are the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, the site of the proclamation of Philippine independence, the Rizal National Monument in Manila, Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City, Sta. Barbara Public Plaza in Iloilo which was the site of the first raising of the Philippine flag in the Visayas, and Barasoain Church, the site of the First Philippine Republic, the first in Asia. The National Flag at the Malacañang Palace, Supreme Court, House of Representatives, Senate of the Philippines, and seaports and airports has also the same status. All other institutions and sites in the country shall observe the display of the National Flag every sunrise and lowering it every sunset throughout the year, except during inclement weather.
May the spirit of Victory and Humanity remains in us!
Rene R. Escalante, Ph.D. is the Chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the concurrent Vice-Chairperson and Executive Director of the National Quincentennial Committee.