Rizal bested by a Capisnon in arithmetic, algebra

In December 2020, it was reported that the Filipino students trailed behind other countries in the international assessment for mathematics and science for grade 4, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), said.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte promised to scrap algebra and replaced it with business mathematics.

Even Dr. Jose Rizal had a hard time in his mathematics subjects and was bested by a Capisnon.

Records showed that on the Recognition Day at the Ateneo Municipal on March 18, 1875, Fortunato Jugo received segundo accesit or second honorable mention while Rizal got the seventh honorable mention.

Fortunato finished his primaria ensenanza at the Ateneo Municipal (now Ateneo de Manila University) in 1874 where he received numerous awards together with his brothers Fortunato and Anastasio.

In 1877, Jugo obtained his Perito Mercatil Certificate at the Ateneo with sobrasaliente mark while Rizal received his Bachelor of Arts degree.

Later, Fortunato was employed oficial de fomento (development official) of Samar and later transferred to Negros Island.

In his assignment before the war, he met and fell in love with Maria Vinzon. Their marriage was blessed with a healthy boy, named Fernando, a namesake of his sister, Sor Fernanda, a nun.

The young Fernando Jugo would later be the President Justice of the Court of Appeals.

Fortunato Jugo was the elder brother of Governor Simplicio Jugo Vidal. Their father was Ciriaco Jugo, a Chinese immigrant from Hongkong and Filomena Vidal of Capiz.

Ciriaco was a trader of palay, bayones, sugar, and livestock. It was not certain when his father died but his mother, Filomena, bore a child in 1873 and remarried Cristino Arias Prieto, a native of Oviedo, Spain, and was a colonial official assigned in Capiz.

The Jugo brothers were mestizo de sangley or Chinese Filipinos. Rizal, too, has Chinese ancestry. These could probably the reasons why they are good in numbers or good in mathematics.

The recent result of the study is alarming. This means that something is not only wrong with our Philippine education system but primordially with our perception of mathematics.

It’s not about the difficulty of the subject but on how our teachers tinker the minds of the young Filipinos on how fun to learn about numbers. Probably it is more on the perception of the subject but not the subject itself.

We need proficiency in mathematics to produce more engineers, scientists, and allied professionals needed for our technological advancement.

In Rizal’s letter to his friend Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt, he said: “All our efforts tend to educate our people – education, education, education, education of our people – education and enlightenment.”*