Wenceslao Vinzons, heroic Bicol legislator, honored on 110th birth anniversary

Published September 29, 2020, 4:05 PM

by Mario Casayuran

On the commemoration of the 110th birth anniversary of Wenceslao Q. Vinzons, one of the country’s most notable patriots during the Second World War,  Senator Richard J. Gordon today called on Filipinos to honor the memory of the former legislator from Camarines Norte.

(Sen. Richard Gordon / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Wenceslao Vinzons is a true hero of the Philippines. He died defending our country during the Japanese occupation, which too many of us take for granted. Today, as we remember him on his 110th birth anniversary, I hope that we also think of his triumphs and sacrifices for our nation’s freedom. It moves me sometimes that very few of those truly deserving to be called a hero have their deeds lost and causes forgotten,” Gordon said.

Gordon stated Vinzons is a true patriot as he refused to pledge allegiance to the Japanese forces, which led him to death.

His father, wife, sister and two of his children were also executed by the Japanese military shortly after he was bayoneted.

“Others were too willing to make friends with the enemy to protect themselves and their wealth, but not Vinzons. His martyrdom really contributed to our independence as a nation,” he said.

Vinzons was seized by the Japanese military together with his father on July 8, 1942 and was killed on July 15 of the same year. Since then, the remains of Bicol’s freedom fighter have yet to be found.

 “It saddens that Vinzons’ and his family’s remains have never been recovered up to now. For me, it is a mockery of justice. I hope that the government will give attention and importance to this. Their remains should be found as it is the only way that we can give justice to their deaths and value to Vinzons’ martyrdom,” Gordon said.

Gordon has been an admirer of Vinzons because of the latter’s extraordinary love for the country.

On April 20, 2009, he commissioned renowned sculptor Sajid Imao for a bust in honor of Vinzons’ heroism, which was unveiled in front of Vinzons Hall at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.

He also sponsored a resolution “supporting the efforts of different government units in preparing for the nationwide centennial celebration of Wenceslao Quinito Vinzons’ natal anniversary” in April 2009.

“It is sad and unfortunate if we allow stories about the great sacrifices of our heroes to be buried into the pages of oblivion. If we want to move our country in the right direction, we have to look back at our rich history as a nation and as a people, for then and only then can we ably declare that we have conquered our future. The tapestry of our country must be painted by the brave and courageous sacrifices of our heroes and their stories must be told, re-told and passed on from one generation to the next,” Senate Resolution No. 989 stated.

Vinzons was born on September 28, 1910 in Indan, Camarines Norte. He graduated valedictorian from high school and gained fame as a student in UP. He advocated the unification of Southeast Asian nations with a common Malay origin in his oratorical address entitled “Malaysia Irredenta,” which won him the Manuel L. Quezon gold medal for excellence. He took up law from UP and placed third in the bar examinations.

Like Gordon in 1971, Vinzons became the youngest delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1935, where he was instrumental in prescribing Tagalog as an official language of the Philippines. He successfully ran for election to the National Assembly in 1941, representing the lone district of Camarines Norte, and organized an armed resistance in the Bicol region against the invasion army, which had arrived in the region on December 12, 1941.

His hometown Indan was renamed Vinzons in his memory.