BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL
Formal ribbon cutting ceremony during the book launching of "Ro 19 Martires it Akean." Standing from left : PAPI president Juan Dayang, Randy Anthony Rebaldo, former Aklan Assemblyman Jose Tumbokon and Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez (upper photo)
Book signing by lawyer-historian Ronquillo Tolentino, author of "Ro 19 Martires it Akean." (upper photo)
Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez and author Ronquillo Tolentino (lower photo) speak before the official launching of "Ro 19 Martires it Akean," chronicling the struggle and heroism of the martyrs of Aklan
KALIBO, Aklan – Former Aklan assemblyman Jose Tumbokon lauded the unique historical pamphlet that chronicles in Aklanon native tongue the exploits of XIX Martyrs heroic sacrifices and martyrdom.
The 6-page booklet, entitled “Ro 19 Martirez it Akean” was authored by lawyer-historian and former Aklan Vice Governor Ronquillo Tolentino and published by the Aklan History Society.
“At that stage of our national life, brave, young, vigorous, idealistic, patriotic, heroic and dutiful to the land of their birth, Aklan’s XIX Martyrs did their share in the nation’s struggle to preserve our territorial integrity and the priceless freedom they want for our national existence as a nation,” he said.
Tumbokon, former Minister of State for Public Information, said the pamphlet is a new and significant footnote in the history of the nation’s struggle for freedom in a democracy. The book makes more meaningful Aklan’s contributions to the national contingent of Katipuneros who were tortured and died for liberty and freedom, he stressed.
March 23, 1897, he said, was a gruesome day of penitential sacrifice made by the XIX Martyrs led by General Francisco Castillo and Candido Iban during the tyrannical rule of Spanish conquistadores.
The XIX Martyrs are Roman Aguirre, Tomas Briones, Domingo Dela Cruz, Claro Delgado, Angelo Fernandez, Simon Inocencio, Catalino Mangat, Lamberto Mangat, Valeriano Masinda, Maximo Mationg and Simplicio Reyes from Kalibo, Valeriano Dalida, Isidro Jimenez, Canuto Segovia, Gavino Sucgang and Francisco Villorente from the town of New Washington and Benito Iban, Candido Iban and Gabino Yonsal of Malinao.
In the foreword of Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez, the literary masterpiece is a unique contribution of Tolentino to Philippine literature and history and to give credit to heroes who served and sacrificed their lives.
“As we pay tribute, let us draw inspiration from our resilient elders – sacrificial heroes and martyrs who truly deserve recognition. Their collective sense of duty and service to country and people and their undying patriotism are worth treasuring forever in the altar of freedom,” the governor said.
Sangguniang Bayan member Mark Quimpo, for his part, also hailed the contribution of Tolentino in the nation’s glorious past, saying, the future generations of Aklanons will be inspire by Tolentino to write the comprehensive great events of the Akeanon history.
Tumbokon also challenged the true sentinels and tireless guardians of freedom to protect the liberty and the democratic institution from undue pressure and assault.
“Without freedom of the press, the heroic exploits of our martyrs and the other patriotic Katipuneros across the land, will be in vain. At the hollow ground where we have treasured them, let us offer our share in the combat of ideas to give the freedom of the press untrammeled expression,” he stressed.
The book launching at the historic Museo it Akean was attended by Governor Marquez, Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Jose S. Yap, Aklan Press Club president Dr. Ambrosio Villorente, Randy Anthony Rebaldo of the Office of Kalibo mayor, former Aklan solon and Northwestern Visayan Colleges president Allen Quimpo, Rev. Fr. Jose Gualberto Villasis, Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI) president Juan P. Dayang, Kalibo Sangguniang Bayan members Mark Quimpo and Madeline Regalado and the descendants of the XIX martyrs.