Are we really free and independent ?

June 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment


Last June 12, we celebrated our 112th Independence Day as a Republic. It was the year 1898 on that same day that General Emilio F. Aguinaldo waved for the first time the Philippine flag with the Marcha Filipina (now known as our Philippine anthem} being played at his house in Kawit, Cavite. On that day ended the 377 years of rule of the Spanish colonizers which was characterized by oppression, inequality and tyranny.

The more than three centuries of Spanish regime in the Philippines opened up the burning quest for freedom- thus we had then young Filipinos in the like of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Gregorio del Pilar, Apolinario Mabini and other countless revolutionaries who fought hard to make the Philippines a republic and a haven of democracy in this part of Asia.

Are we really that free? Were we able to restore the democracy as dreamed and spawned by our heroes? Why then that we could not even have a Filipino identity which is a shame if we compared it to our neighbor Asian countries like Japan, China, Thailand and even the war-torn Vietnam? The countries mentioned have already been in the mainstream of economic progress and to our envy have left us behind threefold in terms of development.

If we looked back, history will tell us that the independence we acquired from the Spanaish authorities was a departure from the oppression and tyrannies committed by the Spaniards in the lives of Filipinos. Cultural legacies had never been freed from the Filipinos such as corruption, indolence and even ignorance. Indeed, these cultural traits are still inherent and visible among us that deter us to move forward for a truly independent Filipinos.

History will also tell us that after we gained our independence from Spain, a new colonizer came into our midst in the guise of furthering democratic processes. Little did we know that prior to the declaration of independence, Spain was already hatching a treaty with the United States of America (USA) that all its colonies will be surrendered to the latter (Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, etc. including the Philippines). Thus, on December 3, 1898 barely five months after our independence day, the Treaty of Paris was signed signaling the advent of new colonizer and that is USA.

We have not really tasted the freedom from oppression wrought by the more than 300 rule of Spain. Instead, we savored a new form of oppression from the Americans. Of course, with their Thomasites’ teachers, Filipinos were taught the English language that after a short time we’ve been adept both in speaking and writing. But that was the Commonwealth era. Philippines was under the control of the Americans. To make it appear that the Philippines was an independent republic, we have a president who was elected by the people {Manuel L. Quezon) and a constitution in 1935 patterned after the constitution of USA.

We were not free then. We were not liberated from foreign intervention. The Americans have the control in running the government and of course our economy and even our military institutions. It was on their regime that bases were installed in the country with the biggest air base in Clark, Pampanga and the naval base in Subic, Zambales.

Thus, in 1941 when the Japanese declared war against USA and its allied nations (Philippines included), we were not spared in joining the war which cost the lives of many Filipino soldiers including paramilitary units known then as guerillas. We fought not in the interest of the Filipinos but for USA- military forces then were known as USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East).

The war was a nightmare to the Filipinos. It was a war born out of greed to colonize countries and perpetuate big nations into global power. The Philippines was under the Japanese power for three years and had installed a Filipino president Jose P. Laurel. After the war where the Americans won ( had it not been to the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan), Philippines was reverted to a republic on July 4, 1946 ( again coinciding with the independence day of America). Since then, we have new leaders at the helm of the government. The new independence brought to the Filipinos new hopes and glory, that as a free country development and progress will go on.

Ten presidents had passed after the war and now we have a new president by June 30, 2010- President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Will he really leads us to the elusive progress? Will he be a healing president and once and for all unite us Filipinos and rally behind him. Will we ever taste real freedom and democracy? Noynoy is being projected by his minions as the “messiah” of the Filipinos, but will he really become a good if not the best president this country ever had?

He has many things to make us free. He will liberate us from poverty. He will free us from foreign economic interventions and the best thing of it is that he will make us proud to be Filipinos.

(for comments, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com)

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Entry filed under: Opinion.

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