Philippine Society. Politics. Rants. Critiques.

JR's Thoughts on Philippine Independence Day

| Friday, June 11, 2010

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day. Being a social science teacher lecturing about history and politics, I see it timely to share my piecemeal thoughts on our “Independence Day”.

We call today’s occasion as the “Independence Day” or “Araw of Kalayaan”. But if we look closely, Araw ng Kalayaan does not literally translate to “Independence Day”; it is “Freedom Day” (kalayaan=freedom). Therefore, Independence Day should be formally translated as Araw ng Pagsasarili, isn’t it?

Anyway, about one hundred and twelve years ago, Filipino revolutionary forces under General Aguinaldo proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the islands from the Spanish colonizers. Eventhough this declaration was not recognized by other countries during that time, this date was proclaimed as the “Independence Day”in 1963 by then President Macapagal. This is due to, above other reasons, that the people themselves should proclaim their own independence from the colonial master (and not the other way around, as what in July 4, 1946 happened). “Freedom should not be bestowed but be achieved”, Pres. Roosevelt once said.

Freedom is a country's right to rule itself, without interference from, or domination by, another country or power. But we Filipinos, in many ways, are still bound by other forces that cripple our chances of economic prosperity and development.

Are we really free? My answer is both yes, and no. Thanks to our system, this blog can not be closed down by the government because of my freedom to express myself.
But in many ways, we as a country, are still bound by the very basic of problems.

One is, to quote lines from Gloc 9’s song, “Balita”: Alam ba ng lahat ng mga husgado at lahat ng hukom/ Na mayroong mas masahol pa sa hatol ng kamatayan / Yan ay ika’y maging mahirap sa sarili mong bayan?”

. Forty percent of the 90-plus million Filipinos still can hardly get by. Apparently, a hungry stomach cannot imbibe civic pride from our rich history and trace their lineage from brave ancestors who defied foreign invaders.

The wealthiest 10 percent of families earn more than twice as much as the poorest 40%. The last elections, the supposed-to-be manifestation of our freedom, has been an event manipulated by the oligarchs for them to put their Kamag-anak Incorporated back to business. We are blinded and bounded.

We lost track of where we came from and where we are heading. We are even very forgiving and very quick to forget of the wicked ones that should be punished. We may not be virtually run by foreigners yet, the multinational companies flourish in the market. Most small Filipino products just don’t stand a chance. New form of colonialism at its best, contributed to the Philippines’ dependency while domestically not raising our own standards of living.

A country that is free should be able to provide jobs internally for people to freely engage to whatever enterprise they want. This is not true here in the Philippines. Ten million people are outside the country, flying over to foreign shores for greener pastures. And the worst, majority of them just don’t want to work there, they want to flee from the Philippines and migrate there. It’s either they work outside the country to serve foreign masters, or live abroad and be one with the masters.

That is why I am not wondering why very few of us think and ponder about our “kalayaan”. The very government that we have even show minimum importance to this annual holiday. It is even moved to be celebrated on Monday (June 14), this is in line with the “Holiday Economics” that “promotes tourism and strengthens family ties”. The Proclamation 1841 while I agree to be good and logical, should exclude sacrosanct days (like today).

Our Independence Day is the only day yearly that Filipinos should totally devote to strengthening pride in our legacy of heroism and sacrifice against foreign colonizers. As inheritors of the patriotic legacy of exemplary forebears, we now seem to take Independence Day for granted, which is absolutely deplorable.

What we were yesterday, what we are today, and whatever we will be in the future are made possible only because of our freedom to live our lives to their fullest potential. The nice thing about our freedom is that we have the free will to do good, let’s bank on that and do our share for the country. Padayon ta!


Finally, I am back.
A pleasant day to all my readers.
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May God bless us all!

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