Statement of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the 83rd birthday anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, Manila, June 19, 1944:

The 83rd birthday anniversary of Jose Rizal should bring into sharp focus the characteristic details of the pattern of Filipino citizen whose successful development constitutes our main endeavor today.

It is appropriate to remind ourselves that in the character of Rizal we find happily assembled all those attributes of true Filipino citizenship. In him we have the unifying symbol and the concrete illustration embodying our loftiest ideals.

In exalting the character of our hero, however, we are in constant danger of reducing him into a pious fetich when he should be a living and dynamic inspiration in raising a citizenry imbued with the Rizal attributes that recall our basic racial virtues. No less are we constantly tempted to read into the character of the greatest Filipino hero qualities that are merely fanciful extensions of our individual vanity. We should watch out against such dangers.

It is part of the enduring validity of Jose Rizal as the highest spirit most representative of our race that his stature rises in dignity and distinction according as his countrymen grow in their knowledge of his life and deeds.

With Rizal as the prototype of our highest endeavor in citizenship training, we can stand being measured against any other great people or race in the world without offering any apology.

The Republic of the Philippines is committed to the creation of a citizenry definitely in keeping with the pattern set by the personality of Jose Rizal. To this end we will concentrate our effort with all the means at our command. This objective remains as a lasting mandate binding upon every Filipino today and tomorrow.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library