The National Archives of the Philippines (NAP) paid tribute to Filipino Heroes in the celebration of 2021 National Heroes’ Day. This is in line with Republic Act 9492 which amended Book 1, Chapter 7 of the Administrative Code declaring the last Monday of August as National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines.
Through a virtual assembly held on August 23, 2021, the NAP invited Mr. Francis Kristoffer Pasion, Museum Researcher II of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to conduct a short lecture in honor of Filipino heroes. In his lecture titled, “Kamalayang Pangkasaysayan: History’s relevance in today’s public health crisis,” Mr. Pasion discussed the importance of history and how it provides answers to the questions people ask today.
He said that one should begin with a question and attempt to answer it using history as an investigative tool. He also said that history will help today’s society answer age-old problems and lay out possible solutions. In his lecture, he pointed out the similarities between the Spanish influenza pandemic that happened in the early 20th century and how studying previous health emergencies will help people defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
History, according to Mr. Pasion, dignifies shared realities and makes people better human beings by honoring the memory of known and not so known heroes.
Ms. Marietta R. Chou, NAP’s Deputy Executive Director said that now is the time for unity, and urged people to have a common purpose to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that a simple act of kindness amid the current health crisis is a form of heroism and will help free the country from the problems brought by the pandemic. In many ways, our heroic health workers can be compared to the heroes who fought for Philippine Independence.
From Mr. Pasion’s lecture, it is clear that the public played a vital role in history. To reclaim and understand history, he suggested two things: constant documentation, and constant witnessing of events as they unfold.