Today we celebrate the 159th Birth Anniversary of Dr. José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda, the national hero of the Philippines. On this date in 1861, Rizal was born in Calamba, Laguna, to Francisco Rizal Mercado y Alejandro and Teodora Alonso Realonda y Quintos, the youngest child, with nine older sisters and a brother.
In the past several years, it has become customary for the Filipino community here on Guam, led by the officers and members of the Laguna Association of Guam, to hold a commemorative event, either at the Consul General's Official Residence in Jonestown, or at the Sentro Rizal Agana of the Consulate General in honor of the monumental role that Rizal played in our nation's history.
This year, as Guam and the rest of the world still continue to grapple with the threat posed by COVID-19 on our health and safety, we have had to forego our usual observance of this historic event.
In lieu of the traditional wreath-laying ceremony, we have opted instead to officially launch on this occasion the new mirror site of the Philippine Consulate General in Agana (Guam) - aganapcg.info, which will replicate the contents found on the official website (aganapcg.dfa.gov.ph) and serve as a redundant online source of information for all our different stakeholders.
With this new mirror site, our consular clients and other stakeholders are now assured of enhanced accessibility to online information regarding our services, especially when we are yet unable to fully entertain queries and concerns in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In the dedication of his first novel, Rizal writes of a type of cancer that was so terrible that the afflicted would flinch at the slightest touch, and thus the novel's title, Noli me Tangere, which is Latin for "touch me not," alludes to this miserable condition.
Upon reading this novel, it becomes obvious that Crisostomo Ibarra's attempt to build a modern school is a metaphor for the cure to what Rizal believed was the social cancer that plagued the Philippines of his time - ignorance.
It is as true now as it was in Rizal's time: well-informed and educated citizens serve as the foundation of a healthy and properly functioning society.
As we look back in reverence at the life of our national hero, it is our hope that this new website will help keep our compatriots properly informed about the consular services available to them.
More importantly, we hope that this website will give our kababayans, here on Guam and in the rest of our consular jurisdiction in the Western Pacific, a better understanding and appreciation of the mission and role of the Philippine Consulate General in Agana in advancing the national interest and contributing toward the national effort to build a peaceful and prosperous country that our revolutionary heroes, Rizal foremost among them, dreamed of for all Filipinos.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas at ang lahing Pilipino!
(Sgd.) MARK FRANCIS C. HAMOY
Consul and Acting Head of Post
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