By Teresita S. De Lima, Bandillo News Mag Editor

The country honors tomorrow, Dec. 30, its national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal on his 124th death anniversary.

          Rizal was executed at the Luneta, now the Rizal Park in Manila for writing about the ills of the Philippine society under its colonizer, the Spanish regime. For doing so, he was branded as a subversive and shot by fellow Filipinos.

          Five generations later, the vicious cycle continues. We are as stuck up with the same predicament as Rizal’s time. And we cannot seem to depart from it all.

          When will we have the courage to rise up from all these?

          We are in fact moving closer to upend our ancestors.

Consider this: Were it not for COVID restrictions, the Rizal monument would be having on unsightly neighbor – a P2million-toilet that was ferociously defended by Beethoven Estanislao Nachor at the Sangguniang Bayan session a few days before COVID set in in March.

          The construction of the state-of-the-art toilet adjacent to Rizal Monument —at the very heart of the town—was stalled by the absence of officials from the department of the environment and natural resources (DENR) in Quezon City who alone would decide to cut or not to cut the two balete trees on that portion. DENR central office was scheduled to conduct on ocular inspection, until its lockdown.

          Cutting of trees need DENR imprimatur particularly because this town is a protected area, per presidential proclamation. This was strengthened by the enactment of E-NIPAs, or the expanded national integrated protected areas system, which prohibits destruction of the contours of the scenic Buhi listed as No. 40 in the enumeration of 84.

          But “with or without the balete trees”, the erection of the P2million-toilet will push through. This was the declaration of Nachor, the most trusted aide of Mayor Aguinillo, during the environment committee hearing at the SB days before quarantine measures were imposed by the national government on March 16.

          Meanwhile, wreath-laying will be around, along with crafted speeches of our so-called public servants to extol the national hero’s love of country.