Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque on Thursday graced the commemoration of the 168th birth anniversary of Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar or “Marcelo Day” at the Shrine of the “great propagandist” in Sitio Cupang, Barangay San Nicolas in Bulakan, Bulacan.
Roque and Bulacan top local officials including Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Vice Go. Daniel Fernando, First District Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, Bulacan Mayors League president Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz Jr., town-host Mayor Patrick Meneses and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Executive Director Ludovico Badoy, led the wreath laying ceremony at the monument of Del Pilar witnessed by thousands of Bulakenyos who joined the traditional civic parade.
“We may have differences in terms of our standpoint, opinions, and principles, but our love for our country will bind these differences,” Roque said.
The spokesperson believed that Del Pilar opened the consciousness of the Filipinos on the harsh reality and these realizations made them fight for their sovereignty.
Also, Grandmaster of the Free and Accepted Mason of the Philippines Most Worshipful Romeo Momo, National Press Club President Rolly Gonzalo and Del Pilar’s great great grandson George Balagtas delivered their speeches to give glory to the Father of Philippine Masonry and Journalism.
The event which is anchored on the theme “Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar: Bayani Noon, Ngayon at sa Nagbabagong Panahon” was made possible through the joint efforts of the Provincial Government of Bulacan, Municipal Government of Bulakan and the NHCP.
Meanwhile, Cong. Alvarado said that also in this day, the three senators namely Senator Dick Gordon, Sen. Nancy Binay and Sherwin Gatchalian vowed to present the approved house bill declaring August 30 of every year as “National Press Freedom Day” to the senate committee in honor of Marcelo H. Del Pilar, the father of Philippine Journalism, who wrote under the pen name Plaridel.
The bill authored by Alvarado recognizes the vital role of the press in nation building and aims to raise public awareness about press freedom. Likewise, it seeks to encourage members of the press to report matters of public interest regardless of the entities or persons that may be offended in the process.
Del Pilar was a key figure during the struggle against Spanish occupation, and one of the leaders of the Philippine Propaganda Movement who is also became the editor-in-chief of La Solidaridad, the newspaper of Filipino propagandists who pushed for the Philippines to become a province of Spain and afford the citizens the same rights with those in the mainland.
Alvarado said dedicating August 30, Del Pilar’s date of birth, to national press freedom shows the world that the country recognizes and respects freedom of the press, as enshrined in Section 4, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Philippine Constitution. This includes the right to speak and write, and the right to be protected from threats, intimidation and violence.
Meanwhile, Crisanto “King” Cortez, a security guard historian said that Del Pilars legacy continues to inspire leaders and the people into shaping the nation into a peaceful and develop country in the far east.
He added that Del Pilar, who used the pen name “Plaridel”, shone brightly and became a beacon of hope when the reformist movement is losing hope for their oppressed country.