Negros faced with new battle today, no Cinco de Noviembre rites – guv

It will be a public holiday in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City tomorrow, November 5, to mark Cinco de Noviembre, the historical event on Nov. 5, 1898, when Negrenses rose in revolt and defeated the Spaniards.

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic that prohibits mass gatherings, there will be no provincial government ceremonies to honor centenarians and outstanding Negrenses as done in the past, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said today.

Lacson said the provincial government will instead deliver the P100,000 reward to each Negrense centenarian.

Provincial Social Welfare Officer Merlie Garcia said they already have 30 centenarians on their list and are waiting for the supporting documents needed from several others.

Lacson said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, November 5 remains to be a momentous and remarkable day for Negrenses.

“Today, we are called not to rise up in arms but to fight in an entirely new manner. The virus seeks nothing but to multiply and destroy; and it is relative upon us how to break its spread and chain of transmission. For the fight to be successful, we are called upon to exercise utmost self-restraint, diligence and discipline,” Lacson said.

Lacson said may Negrenses today “find renewed meaning, resolve and inspiration to unite and work together to achieve our common goal as a people – that is to defeat the threat of COVID 19, not just to our freedom but to our very existence”

On Nov. 5, 1898, Negrenses rose in revolt against the Spanish authorities in the province headed by Col. Isidro de Castro. The Spaniards decided to surrender upon seeing armed troops marching towards Bacolod.

The marching revolutionists, led by Gen. Juan Araneta from Bago and Gen. Aniceto Lacson from Silay, were actually carrying fake arms consisting of rifles carved out of palm fronds and cannons of rolled bamboo mats painted black. By the afternoon of November 6, Col. De Castro signed the Act of Capitulation, ending the Spanish rule in Negros Occidental.

This event is celebrated in Negros Occidental every November 5 as the day the Negrenses bluffed the Spaniards to attain their freedom.

“History is replete with stories of wars, losses and victories but seldom we hear of bloodless uprisings won by revolutionaries carrying fake firearms out of nipa stalks and canons of bamboo mats, of gaining victory with a bluff,” Lacson said.

“The patriotism, bravery, and courage of Gen. Juan Araneta, Gen. Aniceto Lacson and the thousands of Negrenses who fought for our freedom that fateful Cinco de Noviembre, is a story that is truly and solely Negrense,” he said.

“Right now, we are again in a middle of a war, not against conquistadores, but against an unseen and novel enemy, the COVID 19. This time, we are fighting together with the entire humanity,” he added.

November 5 has been declared a special non-working holiday in the province through Republic Act No. 6709 signed by President Corazon Aquino on Feb. 10, 1989.*

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