Kalayaan: The Katipunan Newspaper
Another step taken by the Katipunan to propagate its teachings and to win more
adherents to its side was the establishment of a printing press. One difficulty
encountered was the lack of sufficient funds with which to purchase even a '
small printing press adequate enough to meet the needs of the society.
Fortunately, however, two Katipuneros from the Visayas, Candido Iban
and Francisco del Castillo, who came from Australia in 1895, had one thousand
pesos between them for having won in the lottery. With a magnificent
gesture, the two bought the small printing press of Bazar El Cisne,
then located at the corner of what are now Carriedo and Rizal Avenue.
Its owner, Antonio Salazar, agreed to part with his press for four hundred
pesos. The press was transferred to Andres Bonifacio's house on what is
now Oroquieta Street near Zurbaran. With a proud conscience, Iban and
del Castillo returned to Kalibo, Kapis, to spread the doctrines of the
[ Dr. Pio ] Valenzuela suggested the name Kalayaan for the society's organ, and Jacinto and Bonifacio approved it. However, it was agreed that Jacinto be made its editor, but the name of Marcelo H. del Pilar be made a front as the editor. It was also agreed that to fool the Spanish authorities as to the place of printing, Yokohama should be placed on the masthead. For weeks, day and night, Valenzulela, Duque and Fernandez took turns at preparing the pages of the Kalayaan, which was approximately nine by twelve inches in size. Two thousand copies of the first number, dated January 18, 1896, were printed the hard way. The paper actually came out in mid-March.
The first number contained a supposed editorial of del Pilar, which in fact
Jacinto wrote. It greeted the people and wished them "solidarity and independence"
and offered them his "life and all he had for the good of the Filipino
people." There was an article by Jacinto, Valenzuela's Catuiran? (Is it Right?)
which described the cruelties of the Spanish priest and civil guards of
San Francisco del Monte ( now in Quezon City ) on a helpless village
lieutenant, Jacinto's Manifesto which urged the Filipinos to revolt
against the Spaniards to secure their liberty, Bonifacio's poem
Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan ( Love of Country ), and a sprinkling of
news. For obvious reasons, Jacinto, Valenzuela, and Bonifacio wrote under
their pen-names: Dimas-Ilaw, for Jacinto, Agap-ito Bagumbayan
for Bonifacio, and Madlang-Away for Valenzuela.
Copies of the first number were secretly distributed in Manila, Cavite. Morong ( now Rizal province ), Kalookan, Malabon, and other places. Encouraged by the success of this initial number, Jacinto began to prepare a second number which would contain nothing but his works. But time was running out on the Kalayaan. When the type was already set and the paper about ready to "go to bed," that is, about to be printed, the Spanish authorities, who had suspected the periodical to be in or around Manila, raided the place where the paper was being printed, which was then at No. 6 ( until recently No. 712 ) Clavel Street, San Nicolas. But before the authorities could lay hold of the press, Duque and Fernandez had already destroyed it. Then the two separated, never to meet again. The second issue, therefore, did not come out.
The Expansion of the Katipunan
The publication and distribution of the Kalayaan, with its incendiary contents, immediately influenced the thinking and feeling of the masses in Central Luzon. Jacinto and Bonifacio's writings, in particular, awakened the people from a long lethargy and immediately swelled the ranks of the Katipunan. At the end of March 1896, when the two thousand copies of the periodical had been distributed far and wide, hundreds of people nightly joined the Katipunan in the towns of San Juan del Monte, San Felipe Neri, Pasig, Pateros, Mariquina, Kalookan, Malabon, and other places. The people became aware of their rights and duties to their country. The Katipunan also extended to the provinces of Bulakan, Batangas, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Laguna. Bonifacio's single-minded devotion to the Katipunan and to all that it stood for finally yielded results. From the founding of the society to January 1, 1896, it did not have more than 300 members, but since the appearance of the Kalayaan, the membership had increased to around 30,000. The Kalayaan had done its bit for the society. The people were now prepared to shoulder the risks demanded of them in the struggle for the emancipation of the native land.
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