Why Andres Bonifacio Festival

Community News & Features Oct 25, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Bonifacio-artworkIn June 2019 Canada marked the inaugural Filipino Heritage month.

To celebrate the occasion, the Filipino Canadian Writers and Journalists Network (FC-WJNet) published The Struggle for Philippine Independence, a historical poster that will be launched on Sunday, November 17, 2019.
November is a significant month for Filipinos, who commemorate the birth of Filipino revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio on November 30.

Andres Bonifacio — the lowly bodegero (warehouse keeper) self-educated in the liberal ideas from Europe and the French Revolution, from the works of Jose Rizal and Victor Hugo – was also a poet, writer and stage performer. An activist and revolutionary, he led the founding of the Katipunan (Association of the Highest and Most Respected Sons and Daughters of the People) a national movement that waged the revolution for independence from the Spanish colonizers. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 won for the Filipino people freedom and independence from Spanish colonial rule. It earned for them the distinction of being the first people in Asia to rise up in arms against a colonial power.

Still the struggle for Philippine independence continues to this day. The U.S. came as the new colonizer at the turn of the century and maintains its dominant role in Philippine economy, politics and culture. Another foreign power, China, has begun to gain economic foothold in the country. The conditions obtaining in the country during Andres Bonifacio’s time – poverty and landlessness, low wages, state violence now starkly clear in extrajudicial killings and violation of the people’s basic rights and freedoms, and suppression of legitimate dissent – persist today.

The ANDRES BONIFACIO FESTIVAL features an art exhibit and a book fair by Filipino Canadian authors, a presentation by an award-winning journalist, poetry and readings excerpted from essays and short stories, songs and a skit. It is a celebration of the social, economic, political and cultural contributions of Filipinos in Canada as it is a commemoration of their struggles as immigrants. It is also at once a commemoration of the Filipino people’s historical and continuing struggle for genuine national freedom, independence and democracy as it is a celebration of the life and contribution to this struggle by the leader of the 1896 Philippine Revolution and working-class hero.