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The word "propaganda" in English and American usage has acquired a pejorative connotation which is absent from the original Latin. One can see its true meaning in the Roman institution called "Congregatio de propaganda fide" - the Secretariate for the Spread of the Faith (or, as the modern translation has it, For the Evangelization of Peoples). It was in this latter sense that the word was used by the Filipino group that sent Marcelo H. del Pilar to Spain to continue the "propaganda" on behalf of the Philippines. It was essentially a campaign of information, as well as a bid for sympathy. Dr. Domingo Abella, the learned Director of the National Archives, has made the suggestion that the so-called Propaganda Movement was misnamed. It should have been called the Counterpropaganda Movement, because their essential task was to counteract the campaign of misinformation that certain Spanish groups were disseminating in Spain, and later in Rome.
Prominent members included José Rizal, author of Noli Me Tangere (novel) and El Filibusterismo, Graciano López Jaena, publisher of La Solidaridad, the movement's principal organ, Mariano Ponce, the organization's secretary and Marcelo H. del Pilar.
Specifically, the Propagandists aims were:
- Representation of the Philippines in the Cortes Generales, the Spanish parliament;
- Secularization of the clergy;
- Legalization of Spanish and Filipino equality;
- Creation of public school system independent of Catholic friars;
- Abolition of the polo y servicios (labor service) and vandala (forced sale of local products to the government);
- Guarantee of basic freedoms;
- Equal opportunity for Filipinos and Spanish to enter government service;
- Agoncillo, Teodoro (1990). History of the Filipino People (8th ed.). Quezon City: Garotech Publishing. ISBN 9-71871106-6.
- Schumacher, John (1997). The Propaganda Movement, 1880-1895: The Creation of Filipino Consciousness, the Making of the Revolution. Manila: Ateneo University Press. p. 333. ISBN 9715502091.
- Bernad, Michael (1974). "The Propaganda Movement:1880-1895". Philippine Studies 22 (No. 1-2): 210-211.
- "Bulacan, Philippines: General Info: Heroes and Patriots: Mariano Ponce". Retrieved 2008-08-01.
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