Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez has filed House Bill No. 1461 seeking to declare as national heroes those who led the revolution against Spanish and American colonizers in Mindanao. Rodriguez stated that Mindanao heroes have not been written about in Philippine history books mainly written by authors from Manila and Luzon and that “there is a need to correct the history of the Philippines to be truly national.”

The Mindanao Heroes Declaration Act is pushing for the recognition of the heroism of Mindanao leaders in the fight for Philippine independence against the colonizers. They are as follows:

From Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental
1. Nicolas Capistrano
2. Apolinar Velez
3. Vicente Roa

From Misamis Occidental
1. Rufino Deloso
2. Simeon Ledesma
3. Capitan Daligdig

From Surigao
1. Simeon Gonzales
2. Wenceslao Gonzales

From Cotabato
1. Datu Uto
2. Datu Ali

From Marawi
1. Amai Pakpak

From Zamboanga
1. Vicente Alvarez

In his explanatory note, Rodriguez stated that these Mindanaonons fought bravely in their respective areas against the American colonizers to preserve the independence our nation had achieved against Spanish rule. These heroes resisted American colonization so that the Philippines will be a free and democratic republic.

“As to our Mindanao heroes who are our Muslim brothers, they sapped and diminished the military strength and divided the attention of the Spanish authorities. The Muslim resistance led to the strengthening of the Katipunan because without the military campaign in Mindanao, there would have been more than enough Spanish forces in Manila to check the Katipunan,” Rodriguez said.

“The Moros may not have taken part in the actual combat during the revolution, but their unwavering resistance to Spanish domination is enough contribution to the cause of freedom. Their resistance and offensive operations undermined the Spanish plan to subjugate the archipelago,” he added.

HB1461 also calls for the National Historical Commission (NHC) to comprehensively research the lives of these individuals and to publish books on these heroes, as well as erect monuments and historical markers in their honor.

The proposed measure sets a budget of P30 million for the NHC for the implementation of the law.

Rodriguez also said that “by recognizing the heroic struggle of the people of Mindanao against colonial rule and by declaring as national heroes the Mindanaonons who fought so that this nation may be free and independent can we achieve a truthful and truly national celebration of the Philippine centennial and the unity of the entire people.”

“It is high time that we correct the injustice inflicted by our brothers in the south. Now is the opportune time to give recognition where it is due,” he emphasized.

Rodriguez likewise calls on Filipinos nationwide to read about the unsung battles waged in the southern Philippines so we all may have a complete understanding and genuine appreciation of the history that led to our freedom.

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Download full text of HB 1461 HERE.

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