DAGUPAN CITY – The city of Dagupan, in cooperation with the City Schools Division of the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, held a simple ceremony in honor of Dr. Jose P. Rizal on his 157th birth anniversary on June 19.

The ceremony formally opened with an offering of wreaths at the foot of the monument of the national hero led by Dagupan City Mayor Belen T. Fernandez.

DepEd officials headed by Schools Division Superiintendent Dr. Lorna Bugayong, Dagupan PNP officials, city officials, 2018 “Manlingkor Ya Kalangweran” officials headed by Young City Mayor Jalen Kody Fernandez and active worshipful masters and members of Alfonso Lee Sin Masonic Lodge No. 158 and Pangasinan Masonic Lodge No. 56 joined  the event.

As a tribute to the national hero, Very Worshipful Master Michael Camilo Datario discussed what may have become Rizal’s wife, Josephine Bracken, after his death.

“I choose to deliver this tribute to Rizal on Josephine Bracken because no matter how harsh history had judged Josephine Bracken, she remained to be Rizal’s last true love. Truly, our worth as a person is measured not only of what we have become, but how we have allowed and helped others become,” said Datario.

Young City Schools Division Superintendent Zsa Irah Ibanez, who represented her counterpart Dr. Lorna Bugayong, said that anyone can be a hero if one utilizes their gifts and knowledge for the betterment of society.

 “Gamitin natin ang karunungan upang maging kapaki-pakinabang  sa bayan. Kapag taglay natin ang karunungan, tinutukoy ni Dr. Jose Rizal, madali nating maaangkin ang mga salitang maka-Diyos, makatao, makalikasan at makabansa, ” said Ibanez.

Young City Mayor Jalen Kody Fernandez, in his message, looked back on the hero’s sacrifice and called upon Dagupenos to replicate his deeds.

“Every day, we must remind ourselves of this brave and courageous man who died for our country – this man who bought freedom with the price of blood. He is a hero who left us with a legacy to live up to and the responsibility to carry on. And I hope we choose to be like him. It is not enough to read his stories and absorb its literature. Let us listen to his words that speak to us from a century before and choose to rise up like our forefathers once did, and serve our country, “ said Fernandez.

With the MYK officials in full attendance, Mayor Fernandez hoped that in remembering the life of the national hero, the youth can learn to become better leaders.

“We would like to project to our children that they will be the future leaders (of the city) just as Rizal had always believed that the youth will be leading the future generations, so we have to (train them). As we celebrate the birth of Rizal, I believe that the children can learn something from the tribute today. I have always wanted the youth of Dagupan to become models that would inspire others like Jose Rizal,” saId Fernandez. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)