"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Unveiling of Wenceslao Vinzons' bust at UP Diliman



Calling him his idol and a true hero of the Philippine Republic, Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon led the unveiling ceremony for the bust of Wenceslao Vinzons at the Vinzons Hall in UP Diliman.

"It moves me sometimes that very few of those truly deserving to be called a hero have their deeds lost and causes forgotten. In unveiling this likeness of Wenceslao Vinzons, we hope to begin the re-telling of his life and how he died defending the country which too many of us take for granted," said Gordon.

Vinzons was a student leader and editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian and chairman of the UP Student Council in the 1930s. He became the youngest delegate of the Constitutional Convention of 1935. Gordon like his idol was also a student leader in UP when he topped the student council elections in 1969 during the First Quarter Storm and subsequently while still a law student was elected as the youngest delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention.

Vinzons was among the first Filipinos to organize the guerrilla resistance after the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941. After having killed more than 3,000 of their troops, Vinzons was betrayed by a guerilla-turned-informant and was seized by the Japanese military together with his father on July 8, 1942.

He refused to pledge allegiance to his captors, and was brought to a garrison in Daet. It was there, on July 15, 1942, that Vinzons was bayoneted to death after refusing to cooperate with the Japanese forces. Shortly thereafter, his father, wife, sister and two of his children were also executed by the Japanese.

"Unlike others during the Japanese Occupation, Vinzons did not capitulate or bow down to the foreign power that laid siege to our country," Gordon said.

"Others were only too willing to make friends with the enemy if only to secure their wealth or to gain wealth. Vinzons gave up his life, the only thing he truly owned, in the fight to keep his mother Philippines free," he added.

The bust unveiled at the Vinzon's hall was created by sculptor Juan Sajid Imao, a 2001 TOYM Awardee and a UP Alumnus himself. Imao and Gordon had previously collaborated on the Monuments of Lapu-Lapu in the National Park and General Miguel Malvar in Batangas.

Apart from the bust, Gordon has also filed a resolution supporting the centennial celebration of Vinzons' natal anniversary. (30)

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