Teamcrisostomo's Blog

What is the Rizal Law?

The Rizal Law, also known as RA 1425, mandates the study of Rizal’s life and works, as shown in section 1. This Republic Act calls for an increased sense of nationalism from the Filipinos during a time of a dwindling Filipino identity. According to the judicial system, a republic act is a law that has already been passed and implemented. In contrast to this, a bill is merely a proposed law, in other words it may or may not be passed by the Congress.

The Republic Act was signed by the President on June 12, 1956. From the notes preceding the body of the document, one may infer that the bill was originally proposed in the Legislative arm of the Philippine Republic, in the Senate and House of Representatives.  According to the Official Gazette, the law was made effective thirty days after its implementation. The mere fact that the Act was passed on the date of our independence seeks to stir up a greater sense of fervor in the Filipino, to believe in their own country and national identity—who we are as a nation. It was this time when the Philippines was heavily dependent on the American government for support and guidance.  Also, based on the fact that Jose Rizal is honored by the Philippines as the Philippine national hero, it is but appropriate that the document written to commemorate his accomplishments is written here, in the land of his birth.

It is Senator Claro M. Recto who authored the Rizal Bill. While Senator Jose P. Laurel, Sr., who was then the Chairman of the Committee on Education, sponsored the bill in the Senate.  Both of them were known for their great sense of nationalism. This nationalism served as the foundation to come up with this republic act, to set our country free from the hands of others and stand up on our own—exactly the ideals and values that Rizal strove to fight for. It was written for the Filipino people, specifically the Filipino youth, who may have lost their sense of nationalism. The writers endeavored to rekindle a lost spark in each Filipino’s belief in their country. A republic act as drastic as the Rizal Law, which requires the study of Rizal’s life and works—something that does not need to be required in the first place—can only be born out of the fact that Rizal and his works were not given a high priority in the educational system of the country prior to the release of this act. It is clear that the government had to make drastic changes to resolve the issue. This is evident in section 3 of the act, legalizing all forms of translations for Rizal’s works, as well as section 2, obligating all schools, colleges and universities to keep an adequate number of copies of Rizal’s works. This makes them more accessible to a greater audience.

It is hard to make out any form of emotion from any legal document; however, the choice of words is still able to convey a fiery passion. To highlight this, they also use words or concepts that can easily relate to the common Filipino man. Such passion is vital, as the audience is presumably of dwindling nationalism. In this regard, the writer attempts to show the audience the identity they have slowly been losing, and show them how they can undo this.

There are important points that the author cited in this republic act that is worth noticing. First, “Whereas, today, more than other period of our history, there is a need for a re-dedication to the ideals of freedom and nationalism for which our heroes lived and died.” This document was written in the year 1956 during Magsasyay’s regime when the country was still recovering from the Japanese occupation and still very dependent on US governance. Ideals of freedom and nationalism were very essential during those times since the Philippines was still struggling for independence, and the country was still gradually developing its national identity and integrity. During those times havoc also existed within the Filipinos since there were numerous uprisings against the Philippine government. Moreover, even though this document was written decades ago, it is still striking because this clause is very timely for this present generation when our culture is being overpowered by foreign influence and Filipino diaspora is widespread.

Another important point from RA 1425 is “Whereas, all educational institutions are under the supervision of, and subject to regulation by the State, and all schools are enjoined to develop moral character, personal discipline, civic conscience, and to teach the duties of citizenship.” It is very important to use our educational institutions to instill these values to the children who are at their prime years of growing and learning. During one’s educational years especially the college level is when individuals formulate their priorities and career tracks in life, and it is essential that institutions make students realize that the country should be a part of their priorities and serving one’s country is an innate and inborn duty for all. Also, embedding a profound and authentic moral character and a strong sense of personal discipline in the youth would yield proficient, genuine, and selfless Filipinos of the future who would turn the Philippines from an impoverished country to a globally competitive nation.

Lastly, “The Board of National education shall cause the translation of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, as well as other writings of Jose Rizal into English, Tagalog and the principal Philippine dialects; cause them to be printed in cheap, popular editions; and cause them to be distributed, free of charge, to persons desiring to read them, through the Purok organizations and the Barrio Councils throughout the country.” To provide a specific way to carry out this act is very helpful. It makes the goal very SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. It is also important that the effects of this act would be experienced by all students even those who are financially troubled. It is commendable that in the context of this act, the poor is well represented and that it is attainable regardless of ethnicity, social stature, and language barriers.

This document was obviously written during a time when patriotism and nationalism was lost and needed, and a time when people were inspired by the initiative of the authors of this act. It was during this time when the Philippines and its’ citizens relied on the United States for guidance, support and welfare. It was written in order to seek aide from the same brilliant mind that drove the Filipinos of the past to fight for freedom from colonists entails another need for another meaningful revolution in spite of the absence of invaders; the country may have needed a slow-paced revolution driven by patriotism against dormancy, apathy and futility.


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