RIZAL DAY. Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe (in Barong Tagalog) urges residents to embody the life and works of Dr. Jose Rizal, the country's national hero. Dalipe led the observance of Rizal Day on Friday (Dec. 30, 2022) commemorating the 126th death anniversary of Rizal. (Photo lifted from John Dalipe's Facebook Page)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Residents here have been called to embody the life and works of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the country’s national hero.

Mayor John Dalipe issued the call as he led Friday the commemoration here of the 126th death anniversary of Rizal.

“We have to embody what Rizal stood for. His writings and courage sparked a revolution that begat our freedom against our colonizers,” Dalipe said. “Patriotism comes first more than anything else."

“Today, we are gathered here, to remember the bravery and heroism of our national hero who fought for the independence of our people,” Dalipe said during the commemorative program at the monument of Rizal in front of the century-old City Hall here.

Anchored on the theme, “Rizalism: The emergence of peace through the power of the Pen,” the Rizal Day commemoration should be about "moving forward towards a more resilient community," the mayor said.

"We can’t allow our dark past to haunt us,” he added.

During the program, Domingo Falcasantos, area commander of Knights of Rizal-Western Mindanao, presented his interpretation of the “Mi Ultimo Adios” as a tribute to the national hero.

Rizal was executed on December 30, 1896, at Bagumbayan, now known as the Luneta Park, in Manila. (PNA)