Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Propaganda Movement

GOMBURZA and their Role to the Propaganda Movement

In February 17, 1872, Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora (GOMBURZA), all Filipino priests, was executed by the Spanish colonizers on accuse of rebellion. The charges against Fathers Gomez,
Burgos and Zamora were their suspected involvement in the rebellion of workers at the Cavite Naval Yard. This became an alarm to them for the three priests are not Filipinos. The Spanish killed the priests without any evidence that they are the one who have led the rebellion. They were become aware of the fact that the Spanish could do whatever they want especially to their colony. The deaths of GOMBURZA roused strong feelings of anger and bitterness among the Filipinos. They questioned Spanish authorities and demanded reforms. The martyrdom of the three priests actually helped to motivate the organization of the Propaganda Movement, which aimed to seek reforms and inform Spain of the mistreatment of its colonial government.

The illustrados went in front the Filipinos’ pursuit for change. For their education and recently obtained assets, they sensed more positive about speaking popular grievances. However, since the illustrados themselves were a product of the changes that the Spanish administration had been gradually employing, the group could not really push very hard for the reforms it wanted. The illustrados did not happen as expected in letting-up the sufferings of the Filipinos. They have organized a systematic association called the Propaganda Movement.

The Organization of Propaganda Movement

The illustrados are those elite Filipinos who had given the chance to education during the Spanish era were the first voice of the Filipino masses. Between 1872 and 1892, a national awareness was rising among the Filipino who had established in Europe. In the freer ambiance of Europe, these liberals expelled in 1872 and students attending European universities--formed the Propaganda Movement. It is organized for literary and cultural reasons more than for political ends. The propagandists, who built-in nobility Filipinos from all the plain Christian areas, struggled to awaken the sleeping minds of the Spaniards to the needs of the country and to make a nearer, more equal union of the islands and the motherland.

The most outstanding Propagandist was Jose Rizal, a physician, scholar, scientist, and writer. Born in 1861 into a prosperous Chinese mestizo family in Laguna Province, he exhibited great intelligence at an early age. He was committed to disprove the friars' typecast of Filipino racial inferiority with scientific arguments. His greatest impact on the growth of a Filipino national consciousness, however, was his publication of two novels--Noli Me Tangere (Touch me not) in 1886 and El Filibusterismo (The reign of greed) in 1891. Rizal illustrated on his personal experiences and depicted the situations of Spanish rule in the islands, particularly the cruelty of the friars. Although the friars had Rizal's books banned, they were smuggled into the Philippines and rapidly gained a wide readership.

Other significant propagandists included Graciano Lopez Jaena, a noted orator and pamphleteer who had left the islands for Spain in 1880 after the publication of his satirical short novel, Fray Botod (Brother Fatso), an ugly portrait of a provincial friar. In 1889, he established a biweekly newspaper in Barcelona, La Solidaridad (Solidarity), which became the principal organ of the Propaganda Movement. It had audiences both in Spain and in the islands. Its contributors included Rizal; Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austrian geographer and ethnologist whom Rizal had met in Germany; and Marcelo del Pilar, a reform minded lawyer. Del Pilar was active in the antifriar movement in the islands until grateful to run away to Spain in 1888, where he became editor of La Solidaridad and implicit leadership of the Filipino population in Spain.
Three forms of group composed the Propaganda Movement. These are the suspected Filibusteros including the creoles and Spanish mestizos who had been expelked to Marianas during the attack on liberals in the wake of the Cavite mutiny, the young men sent to Spain for their studies and the refugees who escaped the islands to break out persecution.

Goals of the Propaganda Movement

Members of the Propaganda Movement were called propagandists or reformists. They worked inside and outside the Philippines. Their objectives were to seek:

▪ Recognition of the Philippines as a province of Spain
▪ Equal status for both Filipinos and Spaniards
▪ Philippine representation in the Spanish Cortes
▪ Secularization of Philippine parishes
▪ Recognition of human rights

The Propaganda Movement never asked for Philippine independence because its members believed that once Spain realized the pitiful state of the country, the Spaniards would implement the changes the Filipinos were seeking. They only want changes and recognition, but not independence.

The Downfall of the Propaganda Movement

The Propaganda Movement faded away after Rizal's arrest and the fail of the Liga Filipina. La Solidaridad went out of business in November 1895, and in 1896 both Del Pilar and Lopez Jaena died in Barcelona, worn down by poverty and disappointment. An attempt was made to reestablish the Liga Filipina, but the national movement had become split between ilustrado advocates of reform and peaceful evolution (the compromisarios, or compromisers) and a working-class public that wanted revolution and national independence. Because the Spanish refused to allow actual reform, the plan rapidly passed from the former group to the latter.

Propaganda Movement: A Failure or a Success?
The failure or the success of the Propaganda Movement depends upon how one’s view the whole picture.

Propaganda as a Failure. The leaders are greedy and ambitious. Even the term “Filipino” was first appropriated to the creoles and the elites only. They called themselves as the first Filipinos even though they are not pure Filipinos. They are Spanish-Filipinos and the Spanish who were born in the Philippines, and the Chinese mestizos. It is only later when on the natives and the inhabitants of the Philippines appropriated the term regardless of their class and social status. The primary aim of the illustrados was to protect their personal interest in the political rules and economic benefit as a province of Spain. They only wanted reforms for their own interest. The Propaganda failed to bring together the masses. These illustrados have failed to reach the masses because of their position in the society. They had limited indulgent about the masses. They even did not trust on the capabilities and ability of the masses. Common people also cannot understand them. They wrote in Spanish instead of the Filipino language! There are other several factors that brought about the failures of the movement. Among them were the lack of funds, and the internal conflict of the propagandists themselves. For example is the misunderstanding of the two active propagandists, Rizal and Del Pillar, resulting of Del Pillar’s withdrawing in the contribution to the La Solidaridad. The result of these deficiencies and shortcomings is the failure to achieve their goals and objectives. Because of this result, we may say that the Propaganda Movement is a failure.

Propaganda as a Success. Although the Propaganda Movement had not brought to reality changes and reforms in the country, the spirit of nationhood had its roots in the movement. It initiated the voice of the Filipinos to speak and came out of their cage. It had awakened the minds of the Filipinos and gave them a sense of culture identity. They have realized that they are Filipinos and not Spanish. Philippines are theirs, not with the Spaniards. They should not be abused, nor maltreated in their own territory. The movement enlightened the masses and inspired them. Philippine Revolution was the fruit of the fervor feelings of the masses that was brought by the movement. Therefore, we may say that the Propaganda Movement is a success.

Merielle N. Impreso
1st year- BS Computer Science



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