On Saturday, August 29, the National Press Club along with the Bulacan Press Club organized a forum lecture about Marcelo H. del Pilar and his involvement with the Katipunan. The event was held at Gregorio del Pilar Elementary School and attended by BulSU’s journalism students and media people from around Luzon. They key speaker was King Cortez, a historian who studied about the said hero and came to a conclusion that Tata Celo -the hero’s nickname- is the mastermind behind the Katipunan, contrary to the popular belief that it was the idea of Andres Bonifacio. But ultimately, the lecture also talked about del Pilar being a revolutionary journalist whose writings influenced the hearts and minds of the Filipinos of his generation.
In the lecture, Cortez used century-old documents to prove that it was del Pilar who established the K.K.K. It is noteworthy to mention that his objective in establishing the Katipunan and writing in La Solidaridad ultimately has one intention- to set the Philippines free from the colonial rule of the Spaniards. His initial plan was to use peaceful means, but if the Spanish government refuses, revolution will be the way. In others words, they are connected with each other. This is so contrary to what was taught to us when we were in high school. We grew up thinking that the Katipuneros and the Ilustrados are diametrically different, and have no connections with each other. Cortez and his team lamented how underrated del Pilar is compared to his peers. He stated that no other hero can match up with the supreme sacrifices did for the country.
Cortez and the journalists from all over Luzon also organized a media camp on the same day in which they signed petition to declare August 30, the birthday of the national hero, to be a national holiday which is called the National Press Freedom Day.
Gat Marcelo H. del Pilar is not only a skilled lawyer and the father of Philippine Masonry, but also the father of Philippine journalism. If there’s any patron saint who should serve as a model for journalists of all generations, it should be him.
In my exclusive interview with Joel Egco, president of the National Press Club and a journalist from The Manila Times, he enumerated the qualities of Gat Marcelo H. del Pilar each journalist must copy. Here is the full transcription of the interview:
Me: “Ano po sa tingin niyo ‘yung qualities ni Gat. Marcel H. del Pilar na dapat pong kopyahin namin bilang journalism students?” [What do you think are the qualities of the late Gat Marcelo H. del Pilar that we must copy as journalism students?]
“Ngayon, nalaman natin na he was not just a reformist. He was a revolutionary.’Yan ang bago nating tawag sa kanya. Kasi mas nakilala siyang reformist e. Kasi hindi siya actually nakapunta rito to participate in the Revolution [dito sa Pilipinas]. But he was about to. Unfortunately, namatay siya [sa Madrid, Spain]. So pauwi na siya no’n. So, nabanggit nga ni King na naging key siya sa formation ng Katipunan. That’s why si Deodato Arellano, ‘yong bayaw niya naging presidente no’ng una. So, si Deodato, hindi gagalaw nang hindi alam ni Gat Plaridel.”
[Today, we learned that he was not just a reformist. He was a revolutionary. That’s how we identify him now; although he was more known as a reformist. The truth of the is, he wasn’t able to participate in the Revolution here in the Philippines. But he was about to. Unfortunately, he died in Madrid, Spain. He was about to go home when it happened. So, it was stated earlier by King that he was the key to the formation of the Katipunan. That’s why Deodato Arella became its first president. Deodato will not move unless del Pilar knows about it.]
“So, ang mga qualities na ‘yon, of course, ‘yung perseverance niya na to achieve independence at all costs. He was pretending to be a reformist when actually, he’s part of the Revolution pala. Magaling siyang mag-isip. May diskarte siya. Hindi siya nakatutok sa isang pamamaraan to achieve [his] particular goal which is independence. Kalayaan. He wanted his nation to be free. Kaya ang [tawag] sa kanya ngayon [ay] Ama ng Bansa. [Iyon] ang bago nating tawag sa kanya. And, of course, he is a professional, a very professional journalist. An editor, publisher, reporter, siya na lahat e. And, hindi niya binenta ‘yung profession niya [at] ‘yung kanyang paniniwala kapalit ng rangya. That’s why he died a pauper in pursuit of his ideals. ‘Yon ang pinakamagandang gayahin natin sa kanya. Very humble ang buhay niya. Yet, ang kanyang ambisyon ay napakalaki para sa buong bansa.
[As for the qualities, [it’s noteworthy to mention] his perseverance to achieve independence at all costs. He was pretending to be a reformist when actually, he’s part of the Revolution. He’s a good thinker and a good strategist. He didn’t focus on a sole means to achieve his goal which is independence. Freedom. He wanted his nation to be free. That’s why we now call him the Father of the Nation. That’s the new title we should give to him. And, of course, he is a professional, a very professional journalist. An editor, publisher, reporter; he has it all. And ultimately, he didn’t sell his profession and his beliefs in exchange of wealth. That’s why he died a pauper in pursuit of his ideals. That’s his most beautiful trait that we should copy. He lived a very humble life. Yet, his ambition for the whole country is very big.]