Jose Rizal in face mask and face shield? Reenactment of nation’s hero’s last walk gains attention

December 30, 2020 - 7:27 PM
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Jose Rizal last walk
A screenshot of members of Knights of Rizal reenacting Jose Rizal's last walk on his 124th death anniversary on December 30, 2020. (Video from Justinne Punsalang via News5)

A reenactment of the last walk of nation’s hero Jose Rizal before he was executed caught the attention of some online Filipinos for the way it was presented in context of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the Knights of Rizal, the sole order of knighthood in the Philippines created to honor and uphold the ideals of the historical figure, reenacted his walk from Fort Santiago in Intramuros to Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park) to commemorate his 124th death anniversary.

Accounts note that Rizal walked to his place of execution from his prison cell in Fort Santiago towards Bagumbayan field on the early morning of December 30, 1896. He was accompanied by a bugler, a drummer and two Jesuit priests.

It was said that Rizal was shot on the back by a firing squad at 7 a.m. on that fateful day.

His death anniversary is commemorated in the country instead of his birth since the former observes his nationalism and martyrdom when he died in the hands of the Spanish.

The occasion also recalls the reason why Rizal had willingly given up his life for the sake of the nation.

READ: December 30 or Rizal Day does not mark Jose Rizal’s birthday

Meanwhile, as Filipinos reenact his historic walk, some noticed that the people representing personalities in history wore face masks and face shields—a requisite by the current government in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Historical revisionism. Joke. Haha,” a Twitter user quipped when he saw a picture of the reenactment.

The term is often used in context of Martial Law when supporters of dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. would depict his reign as supposedly progressive despite the numerous violations of human rights.

A clip of Rizal’s last walk reenactment was shared by Justinne Punsalang of News5, which similarly earned various reactions from social media users.

“A special Heng De presentation,” columnist-blogger Tonyo Cruz said, referencing the popular Chinese brand of the most common face shield.

“Bakit natawa ako and then I hated myself for laughing,” another Twitter user wrote in response to the video.

“How could we tell that’s truly Rizal?” a different online user tweeted in reference to the half-covered face.

Face masks and face shields are both required to be worn by Filipinos in public areas as safety measures against COVID-19.

A face mask protects one from respiratory droplets and aerosols containing viral particles, which are how the disease mainly spreads.

This has been mandated by the government since April, a month after the entirety of Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine or the strictest level of lockdown.

A face shield, meanwhile, has been recently mandated to be additionally worn in public this December despite concerns on its effectiveness or ability to reduce transmission.

As of Thursday, the country has a total of 472,532 COVID-19 cases in which 23,793 persons are currently infected.

The fatality count is at 9,230 while those who have recovered stand at 439,509.