To most Filipino scholars, native patriot Dr. Pio Valenzuela is the Katipunan honcho who flew to Zamboanga in 1896 to convince the exiled Jose Rizal to join the revolutionaries.
But that he would later serve as a community doctor who offered his services for free is a fact only historians know.
This and Valenzuela’s other accomplishments, especially those outside the revolution, will soon be appreciated more widely as public schools in the city start to teach students about his life.
Schools Division Superintendent Wilfredo Cabral, during a ceremony celebrating Valenzuela’s 145th birth anniversary at The City Hall on July 11, said that Valenzuela’s life will be taught to public school students in the grades four through 10 beginning this school year.
Cabral presented two sets of Pio Valenzuela lesson guides, one for grades four, five and six; the other, for grades six through 10. Each grade will tackle a particular period in Valenzuela’s life.
Based on the lesson plan for the elementary grades, his youth, his involvement in the Katipunan, and his foray into government service will be taught to grades four, five, and six, respectively.
The secondary grades will follow a similar format. Grade seven will be taught of Valenzuela’s youth; grade eight, his role in the revolution against the Spanish colonial government; and grade nine, his venture into politics. Grade 10 will study the literary works about Valenzuela.
Leilanie Zorayda Mendoza, head of the committee that developed the lesson plans, said the lessons will run for a week. “Though the Valenzuela lessons will be taught by social studies teachers, teachers in other subjects may also draw connections between their subjects and Valenzuela’s life,” Mendoza added.
Along with founder Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto, Valenzuela is a member of the Katipunan triumvirate, the three highest-ranking officials of the anti-colonial revolutionary group formed in 1892.
In 1896, the Katipunan sent him to Dapitan, Zamboanga to enlist Jose Rizal’s support for the revolution which the group plans to launch that year. Rizal, however, rejected Valenzuela’s proposal, saying the revolutionaries’ scant weapons and the people’s lack of preparation will only result in defeat.
The Katipunan was discovered by the Spanish authorities later that year, and the revolution broke out in August 26. Valenzuela was arrested and sent into exile to Spain, then to Africa. He returned to the Philippines two years after.
Valenzuela was appointed municipal president of Polo, his Bulacan hometown. As town mayor, he went against illegal gambling, earning the ire of gambling lords. In 1919, he was elected as provincial governor, a position he held for six years.
Valenzuela spent his retirement years away from politics yet close as ever to public service, becoming a physician in the grassroots. He died in April 6, 1956, at the age of 87.