HomeRecent News QC Celebrates the Bicentennial Birth Anniversary of Melchora "Tandang Sora" Aquino
QC Celebrates the Bicentennial Birth Anniversary of Melchora "Tandang Sora" Aquino
Melchora Aquino was born on January 6, 1812, the daughter of well-off farmers, Juan Aquino and Valentina de Aquino. Her birth place was barrio Banlat, which is now in Balintawak, Quezon City. At that time, Banlat was known as a verdant paradise, filled with fields, trees and bamboo. She was married to Fulgencio Ramos who was a kabesa de barangay, which made Melchora known as Kabesang Sora. It was from Fulgencio that Sora learned to become a people-person, able to relate well to the many residents in their community. The couple had six children: Jaun, Simon, Estefania, Juana, Romualdo at Saturnina.
Fulgencio died young, leaving Sora as a single mother. She also learned to take over the farm left by her husband, and able to make a good living out of it. She was said to be a relatively tall (5 foot 8 inches) and hefty woman, able to manage other small businesses on the side.
She was 80 years old, when the Philippine Revolution escalated in 1892. Jose Rizal had come back to the Philippines after the publication of his novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Revolutionary fervor ran high, especially after Rizal's arrest. Many had become members of the Katipunan. It was said that Sora's son, Juan, was a Katipunero. Sora, though fearing for the life of her son, did not stop him from his meetings and underground activities because she, herself, believed in the Katipunan's cause.
With authorities hot on their heels, the Katipuneros under Supremo Andres Bonifacio kept changing their meeting places. One was in the house of Apolonio Samson. Later, they decided they might be safer if they met in Kabesang Sora's house. This was on August 23, 1896. Sora, at 84 years old, and knowing full well the risk, opened her home and yard to about 500 people, opening her granary to cook the sacks of rice she kept and butchering animals to feed the hungry. The following morning, the crowd had grown to more than a thousand; still undeterred, she catered to their needs. Later, facing scores of injured Katipuneros, she extended her help to medical care.
When clashes spread, the family of Sora fled to Novaliches. Later, she was arrested by the Guardia Civil at Pasong Putik, where she was first confined to the home of the kabesa de barangay there and later at the Bilibid Prison in Manila. Hungry for information about the revolutionaries, authorities tried to terrorize, bribe, and even confuse her...but she would not disclose anything. After three days, Governor General Blanco decided to exile some Filipinos to Guam, with Sora being one of them. Tandang Sora was imprisoned in Guam for almost seven years, with no news at all about her children.
On February 1903, Tandang Sora at 91 years old, was freed by the Americans. Although destitute, she refused to accept the reward given by the government for her contribution to the success of the Philippine revolution, saying she was only doing what was expected of any Filipino. On February 20, 1919, Tandang Sora died at the age of 107, at the home of her daughter Saturnina. She was first buried at the Cemeterio del Norte, at the Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion. Then her remains were moved to Himlayang Pilipino. Now, her remains are in her own Shrine built by the Quezon City Government at Banlat Road, Barangay Tandang Sora.
In Quezon City, the Tandang Sora Year is a celebration of public service milestones
Disaster-risk based approach to housing and resettlement
Learning well from the difficult and painful lessons wrought by Typhoon Ondoy, Mayor Herbert Baustista adopted in 2010, a disaster-risked approach to development. Informal settlers living in danger zones were located and identified. The more than 10,000 families become priorities for resettlement. By moving them out of creeks and waterways, the Quezon City Government was also able to move in earnest with its flood control programs—desilting waterways, removing obstructions to waterflows and repairing ripraps and embankments. Thus, Mayor Baustista’s housing strategy is tackling the challenges of disaster-risk minization as well.
Immediation solution: The QC-LGU has been able to move more than 2,000 poor families out of danger areas, into safer communities in Southville 8, with the help of National Housing Authority.
More far reaching solutions: Two large new communities are being developed by a third in the process:
1.56 hectares along Molave Street in Barangay Payatas, near Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma School enough for more than 380 beneficiaries. Project partners Habitat for Humanity and Pag-ibig Fund
4.4 hectares in Brgy. Kaligayahan, for more than 800 families. Project partners: PHNMA and Area family
Soon: 40 hectares in Montalban
Balancing environmental management and economic growth
The continuing challenge to the Bautista Administration is to balance the needs of urban development, including the shelter and enterprise needs of its growing population, with the just important need for preserving and maintaining the city’s green space. Managing this balance is a constant test of political will, tempering the need to give in to business and housing demands, with the more sustainable need for an environmentally well- managed city.
On the global front, especially in environment management, our city is well-positioned in the international community. This includes the recognition that the Quezon City government has earned in Japan, at the Tokyo Zero Waste Conference; at the 2nd World Congress on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany, at the Berlin Expert Talks on Globalization; and at the C40 Summit on Climate Change in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The life of service of Tandang Sora is a source of inspiration to the officials of the Quezon City Government, as their response to the multifarious needs of the biggest highly urbanized city in the country, with the very large poor population.
Strengthened by a +66% net trust rating, with 77% of QC residents having must trust in him (based on a November 2011 survey by the Social Weather Station), Mayor Herbert Bautista has taken on many bold, sometimes politically risky responses, just to raise more resources and expand collaborative partnership to create more innovative solutions to these challenges. His priorities and safe housing and properly planned new communities; disaster-risk mitigation; environment management; efficient, modern and affordable health care; child care education that levels the quality for the poor with that of the well-to do; and economic development that spreads gains and raises the level of public resources to support a higher quality of life for people in Quezon City.
Upgrading of City health systems and services The Quezon City Government is operationalizing CHITS or computerized health information systems in all 72 of our city health facilities, using software developed locally by the University of the Philippines. Our objective is to bring to the city’s public health systems, the benefits that well-run health facilities are gaining from good use of technology.
The new Quezon City General Hospital now has all the bells and whistles of a well-equipped medical center. The same goes for the Novaliches District Hospital, which is also undergoing a similar transformation. The modernization thrust includes making sure that all of our city’s health centers have diagnostic facilities, as well as adequate stocks of medicine and needed equipment. In 2012, all Super Health Lying-in Centers will have infant incubators. The public will also benefit from our provision of five chemotherapy clinics, five x-ray clinics, and five dialysis clinics in structures already built in 2011.
Upgrading early child care education
Mayor Baustista declared the decade 2011 as the Child Youth and Welfare Decade As an important component of this movement, the QC-LGU is significantly upgrading pre-school learning. Our aim is to provide children from poor families a good headstart when they enter regular schooling and level up with the quality of education offered in private school for well-to-do children. Physical facilities in daycare and kindergarden in QC are gradually adopting the template of a child-friendly facility, in structure that also have a livelihood center at the second floor, for their parents and guardians to be trained to learn a trade. In addition to enhancing teaching quality through the daycare instructors' subsidized two-year certificate course at Miriam College, the City government also produced its interactive teaching tools called ”Turo Turo”, much like its own version of Sesame Street.