Andres Bonifacio was born on November 30, 1863 in Tondo, Manila. He lost both parents to TB by the time he was 19 years old and had to forego his dreams of a college education as he had to work and earn an income to support his siblings.
Bonifacio was one of the founders of the Katipunan, or the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan that aimed to obtain freedom and self rule through persuasion and struggle, including the use of arms if necessary. Though he and the founders were well read on history and revolution, most of the members of the Katipunan were less schooled people from the lower middle and working classes. These were people for whom turning their society into a revolutionary army was not a difficult decision.
The Katipunan membership spread not just in Luzon, but also in the Visayas and Andres Bonifacio was elected Supremo of the Katipunan in 1895. Under his leadership, membership grew in 1896 from only about 300 to more than 30,000 members in July. It had become an organization that could credibly fight a revolution for freedom and independence from Spain.
That revolution was launched by Bonifacio on August 23, 1896 at The Cry at Pugad Lawin where he called on Filipinos to rise in revolt. He led his followers in tearing up their cedulas as a symbol of releasing themselves from the rule of Spain.
Today, we remember the legacy and ideals of Andres Bonifacio who started a revolution because of his deep love for his country. In the fight for democracy, we must never forget that many times, struggle will be necessary.
It is up to us, the Filipino people, to uphold the revolutionary tradition of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan. During these times, slogans and lip service and no longer enough and we will have to make the choice between fence sitting and choosing the side of truth and justice. If today’s national hero started a revolution, it is our duty as Filipinos to continue fighting for our country and its future.
Because Filipino heroes like Andres Bonifacio were willing to fight and die for their country, the least we can do now is to stand up for everything they fought and died for.
As we commemorate his life today, let us think about what Andres Bonifacio would’ve stood for and against, had he been alive today.*