Ni: Erik Espina
UNDER Presidential Proclamation 627, Series of 1995, September 3-10 is declared as “Linggo ng Laang-Kawal”, or National Reservist Week. The anniversary will however be celebrated this September 16 at Camp Aguinaldo by AFP Reservists with Deputy Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs J-9 Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad as main host.
Over a year passing, I had submitted a 9-page, 23-point discussion paper on proposals to Malacañang “friends”, on improvements for Reservists and Citizen Armed Force development. Heading the list, is amending said Proclamation to April 21-27 in observance of the victory in Mactan by the seminal Filipino Lapu-Lapu. To honor the AFP recognized first “Mamamayang Kawal” (citizen soldier) who made the “conquista” crown of Spain genuflect on native shores.
This triumph, set in the back-drop of an armada of ships with ball cannons as compared to bancas, armor versus loin-cloth, pitting fire-breathing Arquebus muskets against arrows and spears in 1521. The outcome would have been predictable e.g. Hernan Cortes vanquishing the Mexican Aztecs August 13, 1521, Francisco Pizarro versus the Incas of Peru in 1532, if not for the cunning leadership of Lapu-Lapu.
The April 27, 1521 chronicle on the defeat of Spain’s ‘almasen’, Ferdinand Magellan, postponed the fall of the archipelago by 50 years until the Legazpi Expedition. While my Filipino-Muslim friends, proudly embrace Datu Lapu-Lapu as a brethren of Islam, Cebuano and Visayan history note him as an “animists”. His adoptive father’s assignment was a combination of present day harbor pilot, customs chief inspecting Chinese junks trading in Mactan shores, collecting tributes, and as guardian against the surprise attacks of “slave raiders and traders.”
The issuance of a new Proclamation to right history for the Reservist and citizen soldiers under a supportive Administration is most apropos, anent to a Lapu-Lapu Day declared a provincial holiday. Many Cebuanos support such a move. And we know President Rodrigo Duterte is a staunch advocate of said hero’s legacy.