GUAGUA – The National Commission on the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) together with the Provincial Government of Pampanga and the Municipal Government of Guagua commemorated the life and heroism of national hero Aurelio Tolentino during the celebration of his 105th Birth Anniversary held at Manuel P. Santiago Park, Plaza Burgos, here.
The event was graced by 2003 National Artist for Literature and NCCA and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) Chairman Virgilio S. Almario, former president and Second District Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairman Dr. Rene Escalante, NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy, Board Member Rosve Henson, Mayor Dante Torres, and Dr. Becky Singson, granddaughter of Aurelio Tolentino.
The program started with the unveiling of the historical marker and wreath-laying ceremony at the monument of Tolentino led by Congresswoman Arroyo and Chairman Almario.
In his welcoming remarks, Mayor Torres expressed hope that the new generation will produce more Aurelio Tolentinos in articulating the love for Guagua and the country through writing and other forms of arts.
He also said that the event may serve as an inspiration to everybody to help sustain our freedom and be part of the country’s pride.
Board Member Henson, who represented Governor Lilia “Nanay” Pineda, called on everybody to contemplate on the examples shown by Tolentino through the history, which is to stand for what is right and just. He also requested the KWF to republish Tolentino’s works to be distributed to Kapampangan students.
Cong. Arroyo, meanwhile, congratulated the town for producing a number of heroes who had significant contributions for the country.
She also acknowledged Tolentino’s efforts as a writer, orator, and for being one of the early members of Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galang na Katipunan nang mga Anak nang Bayan or KKK.
Dr. Singson, a granddaughter of Tolentino, expressed her awe upon knowing that the townspeople of Guagua are still commemorating her grandfather’s legacy.
“Nakakataba ng puso na kahit yumao na ang isang tao, ipinagdiriwang pa rin ng mga taong hindi man niya kamag-anak o kaano-ano ang kanyang kaarawan. Iyan ang patunay na may kabuluhan ang lahat ng pinaghirapan ni Lolo Aurelio Tolentino,” she said.
Chairman Almario said that the efforts made by Tolentino is at par with Rizal’s and Bonifacio’s and is recognized by the Commission and all of the townspeople. He also said that Tolentino stayed true to the Cartilla ng Katipunan and was evident in his writings and plays.
“Para bang sinasabi ng akda ni Aurelio Tolentino na hindi namamatay ang adhika ng Rebolusyon dahil ipapatuloy natin ito sa pamamagitan ng pagsulat,” he said.
Tolentino was born on October 13, 1867 in Barangay Sto. Cristo here. He was a known playwright, orator, and writer whose works became a propaganda against the American occupation. He is also known to be a good friend of Andres Bonifacio and became an early member of KKK. He died on July 5, 1915 in Manila. –TEXT & PHOTOS BY PHILIP OCAMPO/PIO