Yes. Very much so.
Bonifacio, one of the Philippines’ most popular heroes, had many sterling qualities which many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) possess and display today across the world. His 150th birth anniversary is celebrated today, November 30.
What qualities are these?
1] Boldness and courage. Armed only with spears, knives and bolos against rifles, pistols and cannons, Bonifacio led the Katipuneros in a mass rebellion, aimed at ending 300 years of Spanish tyrannical rule. Like Bonifacio and the Katipuneros, OFWs mustered guts and courage to leave the comforts of home and venture into even the most dangerous countries in the world, like war-torn Syria and Iraq, all for the sake of earning a good income and supporting loved ones back home.
2] Selfless dedication to the fight for freedom. Oblivious to injuries and death, Bonifacio and the Katipuneros fought for freedom for the Filipino people. Like them, OFWs are unmindful of numerous challenges and risks abroad as they press on in their fight to liberate their loved ones mainly from economic hardships and the risks of having an uncertain future if they are not sufficiently armed with sound education and sustainable livelihood or income sources.
3] Leadership. Bonifacio wasn’t highly educated as Jose Rizal, acknowledged today as the Philippines’ national hero, but this didn’t deter him from leading the Katipuneros in their rebellion against the better-armed Spaniards. Today, OFWs, many of them female, play the dual role of breadwinner and leader in the family, often making major decisions in substantive family affairs.
4] Deep sense of patriotism. Bonifacio and the Katipuneros faced prospects of death as they fought the more superior Spanish forces, but they pressed on for love of country and its citizens. OFWs can be likened to the Katipuneros in this respect. In the course of their daily work abroad, they inevitably take up the cudgels for the Philippines and the Filipino race even as they know that the US$21 billion annual remittances of OFWs back home help the Philippine economy immensely.
5] Foresight and vision. Bonifacio recognized that the only way for Filipinos to achieve a better future lies in gaining independence from the Spaniards and for the country’s destiny to be determined by its own people. In the same vein, most OFWs believe that the most effective and viable way to provide a better future for their children and other loved ones is to work abroad where earnings are better than those back home.
OFWs should never lose sight of the ideals that Bonifacio and the Katipuneros stood and fought for.
In times of weakness and adversities, OFWs should always remember that they possess most of the traits and qualities of Bonifacio and the Katipuneros.
Like Bonifacio and the Katipuneros, OFWs should always press and fight on no matter what odds and challenges lie ahead – for the sake of their loved ones back home.
Photo: Phil Daily Inquirer