La Liga Filipina
La Liga Filipina was a civic organization established by Jose Rizal in 1892 while the Philippines was under Spanish colonial rule. Its aims were to unite the country, to protect and assist all its members, to fight violence and injustice, to support education and to study and implement reforms.
La Liga Filipina was a league of Filipinos which Rizal founded at the evening of July 3, 1892 in Ylaya, Tondo, Manila. On the same day, they hailed their founding officers: Ambrosio Salvador (President); Deodato Arellano (Secretary); Agustin dela Rosa (Fiscal); and Bonifacio Flores Arevalo (Treasurer). Rizal only served as their consultant. Three days after being founded, Rizal was arrested because the Spanish authorities were alarmed by the formation of this organization.
The Beginning of La Liga Filipina
At first, there was a civic society called La Propaganda. It aimed to aid the Filipino reformers in Spain who wanted to obtain adequate political recognition from Spain. The finances were collected from its members who were mostly from the middle class. The money then would be given to the Hispano-Filipino Association. However, the funds of the organization were not used appropriately. Because of this, the organization didn’t survive.
With this event, Jose Rizal proposed to found another civic society which he visualized as a means of helping the community by providing scholarships, legal aids and loans. He prepared the constitution of this organization while he was in Hongkong. And when Rizal came back to the Philippines, he believed that it was the right time to put his visions into actions.
After the morning interview on July 3, 1892 of Jose Rizal with Governor-General Despujol, he went to an assembly with different Filipino patriots at the home of Doroteo Ongjunco,a Chinese-Filipino at Ylaya, Tondo, Manila. The gathering were attended by Pedro Serrano Laktaw (Panday Pira); Domingo Franco (Felipe Real); Jose Anacleto Ramos (Socorro); Ambrosio Salvador; Bonifacio Flores Arevalo (Harem); Deodato Arellano; Ambrosio Flores (Musa); Agustin de la Rosa; Moises Salvador (Araw); Luis Enciso Villareal; Faustino Villarruel (Ilaw); Mariano Crisostomo; Numeriano Adriano (Ipil); Estanislao Legaspi; Teodoro Plata; Andres Bonifacio; Apolinario Mabini (Katabay) and Juan Zulueta.
Jose Rizal presented the constitution of La Liga Filipina. And by the end of the gathering, they were able to elect the officers of the organizations namely: Ambrosio Salvador (President); Deodato Arellano (Secretary); Agustin dela Rosa (Fiscal); and Bonifacio Flores Arevalo (Treasurer).
Aims of La Liga Filipina
The following are the aims of La Liga Filipina as stated on its constitution:
- 1. To unite the whole archipelago into one compact, vigorous, and homogenous body;
- 2. Mutual protection in every want and necessity;
- 3. Defense against all violence and injustice;
- 4. Encouragement of instruction, agriculture, and commerce; and
- 5. Study and application of reforms.
Motto of La Liga Filipina
The motto of La Liga Filipina was Unus Instar Omnium which means One Like All.
How La Liga Filipina Worked
The governing body of La Liga Filipina was the Supreme Council which had a jurisdiction with the entire nation. There was a Provincial Council in each province while Popular Council in every town.
All Filipinos can qualify to be a member of the organization as long as they have love for the country. Every member pays an entrance fee of two pesos and a monthly fee of 10 centavos. The funds were used in helping the members, the poor and the community. Each member has the obligations of:
- 1. Following the orders of the Supreme Council
- 2. Helping in recruiting new members
- 3. Keeping in secrecy the decisions of the La Liga authorities
- 4. Having a symbolic name which cannot be changed until he becomes the president of his council
- 5. Reporting to the fiscal anything that he may hear which affects the La Liga Filipina
- 6. Behaving well as befits a good Filipino
- 7. Helping fellow members in all ways.
La Liga Filipina divided
When Jose Rizal was deported to Dapitan, La Liga Filipina went inactive. But with the endeavors of Domingo Franco and Andres Bonifacio, it was reorganized. Bonifacio assembled a lot of chapters in different parts of Manila. But after a few months, La Liga Filipina was torn into two: Cuerpo de Compromisarios who were the conservative ones and Katipunan who were the radical ones. The conservatives continued to support the La Solidaridad. The root of the split was the radicals were no longer enthusiastic in sending money to the Madrid propagandists because they believed that peaceful campaign was no longer working.
The Liga was active at first but a few months later found that most of the councils organized by Bonifacio were no longer sending funds to propagandists in Madrid because they had become convinced that peaceful agitation for reforms would not bring them to freedom. They were afraid that the members might be captured and, not wanting to involve themselves in something that would eventually bring them to the knowledge of the Spaniards, the leaders of the organization decided to dissolve. They were separated into two groups: the Cuerpo de Compromisarios, which was composed of the conservatives who pledged to continue their support for the La Solidaridad and aim for a silent revolt, and the group of radicals led by Bonifacio who devoted themselves to the Katipunan.
The movement asked for reforms from the government of Spain but to no avail. Many of the reformists showed their patriotism although they still failed to maintain unity in their pursuit to fight against the colonizers. This may be attributed to the fact that most of these reformists were from the middle class and needed to be cautious to safeguard their wealth and interests. Apart from lack of funds, personal differences hindered the success of the movement.
- Gregorio Zaide and Sonia Zaide. Jose Rizal : Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero. All Nations Publishing Co., Inc. Alforque Bldg., Quezon City, Philippines 1102. 1999
- Filipino.biz.ph - Philippine Culture  (Accessed 1 July 2011)
- La Solidaridad and La Liga Filipina  (Accessed 1 July 2011)