Happy and independent, is the Filipino?

Excerpt from a Manila Bulletin caption: “…the Filipino flags on their vests were upside-down, with red rather than blue at the top, which officially means the country is at war. ” AFP PHOTO / FILES / MANAN VATSYAYANA

How timely! A triumphant Fil-Am donning the PH flag-at-war during the 28th SEA Games in Singapore!

Whoever stitched that on, must have been inspired by the honest mistake of the website of the Office of the President’s in May 2011!

Ah this “wardrobe malfunction” just makes me go on a throwback on a May 2011 Facebook post:

Is this an honest mistake or a subliminal message from the Office of the President based on PNoy’s warning to China regarding the disputed Spratlys? To quote: ““We may not have the capabilities now, but that might force us to increase our capabilities also,”?

Or is this a message that the PNoy administration is dead serious against corruption that it chose to call our people to pride the Philippine flag in a symbolic gesture of war towards the “Daang matuwid”?

More than the mistake or whatever underlying metaphor there is, the relevance of our flag should go beyond symbolism. Sure, place in it on your car, wear it proud on your shirt, make it as your wall paper or screen saver, but it doesn’t do much for a people who has forgotten that the flag should represent a proud nation based on merits.

Proud of real triumphs and everyday accomplishments that heroes are but common members of the society and don’t deserve recognition; Proud of a President who go beyond friendship when failure is seen to be at a nation’s detriment; Proud of every citizen based locally and abroad because each, best try to live according to the ethic of reciprocity, to a predominantly Catholic nation, this is what most can refer to as the Great Commandment found in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31.

What is the use of independence if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?” says Padre Florentino to the dying Simoun in Rizal’s “El Filibusterismo”.

Jose Rizal’s words were relevant then as it is relevant now.

As our Philippines, celebrates another year commemorating an Independence dictated by Aguinaldo, let us be reminded of the lessons of history, so that this day will not just be another non-working holiday to spend on pageantry.

Let us be reminded of a most relevant timeline:

  • June 12, 1898, a Declaration of Independence by the Aguinaldo government that was neither recognized by Spain nor America;
  • December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed. This marked the end of Spain’s colonial power over the Philippines and the rise of the power of the United States of America over the Pacific;
  • July 4, 1946, is the date the United States of America chose to give independence to the Philippines through the Treaty of Manila.

The dates validate what Rizal wrote in his manifesto that expressed his disapproval of the armed revolution against Spain, he opposed and made clear that armed revolution was futile and disastrous. Reforms must not be violent and transitory.

Rizal, like any Filipino then and now, desired our country’s freedom but his plea for genuine emancipation was rarely heard. Centuries hence, EDUCATION and HARD WORK that he stressed so often that makes the Filipino people worthy of that freedom, is still ignored by many:

  • “Our liberty will not be secured at the sword’s point… We must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it. And when the people reach that height, God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, tyranny will crumble like a house of cards, and liberty will shine out like the first dawn.” (from “El Filibusterismo”)
  • “Ignorance is bondage, because like mind, like man. A man without will of his own is a man without personality. The blind who follows other’s opinion is like a beast led by a halter.” (from “Letter to the Women of Malolos”)
  • “Man works for an object. Remove that object and you reduce him into inaction.” (from “Indolence of the Filipino”)

For Rizal,

“The gift of reason with which we are endowed must be brightened and utilized” (from “Letter to the Women of Malolos”)

Another “Araw ng Kalayaan”, but are the Filipinos really free?
Does the majority of Filipinos have genuine awareness and prestige, knowing that each consciously makes an effort to serve our fellowmen? Knowing that we are not contributors to the flash floods?
Knowing that we have a popularly elected leader who made heads roll, , regardless of POLITICAL AFFILIATION, because they have shamed the country? Knowing that our faith has made Filipinos, a citizen of the world with real physical meaning, engaging in, not just one’s own but in each other’s destinies towards new levels of cooperations and shared responsibility?

Ignorant of the above are many, thus another commemoration to invoke patriotism based on an emblem and pageantry is nothing more than just hypocritical respect.

The Salt Lake Herald headlined on August 19, 1898 : “ALL OF PHILIPPINES GIVEN TO THE AMERICANS”.

When was Philippine Independence proclaimed again by Emilio Aguinaldo?
June 12, 1898?
Say that again?

Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina’s words during his 1935 campaign speech for presidency against Aguinaldo has never been so prophetic:

“I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans, because however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it.”

So it has been, we have the freedom to hope for change but we know not what entails to make that change.

So it has been, over a century hence, since that shortlived declaration of Independence over at Aguinaldo’s balcony and almost three decades  since Edsa Revolution, what has that freedom brought to the country but the freedom to fall prey to the whims of a foreign creditor and the freedom to elect into office the false.

What has that freedom brought to the majority but a freedom, superficial?
There is freedom but bare are many homes of the most basic of needs.

There are laws and we have rights but the simple man cannot even be protected by the same.

They say we have the freedom to be a Filipino but so many are displaced and enjoy not the right to live with their families, options diminished to answer the need to provide.

The worse are the Filipinos, who know not the honor to be a steward of a land blessed with beauty and bounty.

Freedom is a privilege, bought with blood and sacrifice by those who came before us.
A privilege that entails responsibility.
A responsibility that only a few, know anything about.

Happy and independent, is the Filipino?
Not.

References:

SEA Games photo from http://www.mb.com.ph/sea-games-flag-gaffe-puts-filipino-americans-on-war-footing/

Philippines warns of arms race in South China Sea http://globalnation.inquirer.net/2247/philippines-warns-of-arms-race-in-south-china-sea

Image of Salt Lake Herald courtesy of http://philippineamericanwar.webs.com/mockbattleofmanila.htm

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About Ms. Mike Portes

Mike is the author of "Minsan may Isang Puta", an allegory which has been circulating since 2004 and with over 50,000 likes and shares in social media alone. It won a film grant in 2010 to be included in the multi-narrative Indie film "Ganap na Babae" (International title: Garden of Eve). The teaser, reviews and commentaries are here. The movie was honored as Cinemalaya 2010's opening film and has won international and local recognition. The royalties from the initial 150 copies of Mike's first sole-authored book, The Dove Files, went to a Project Malasakit scholar who graduated Cum Laude in April 2013, the rest was also paid forward to baby Mark who underwent a liver transplant in March 2013. Part of the royalties of the "Minsan may Isang Puta" book at Barnes and Noble Online goes to support the education of a young Yolanda survivor taking up B.S. Accounting at U.P. Tacloban.

Post Author: Ms. Mike Portes

Mike is the author of "Minsan may Isang Puta", an allegory which has been circulating since 2004 and with over 50,000 likes and shares in social media alone. It won a film grant in 2010 to be included in the multi-narrative Indie film "Ganap na Babae" (International title: Garden of Eve). The teaser, reviews and commentaries are here. The movie was honored as Cinemalaya 2010's opening film and has won international and local recognition. The royalties from the initial 150 copies of Mike's first sole-authored book, The Dove Files, went to a Project Malasakit scholar who graduated Cum Laude in April 2013, the rest was also paid forward to baby Mark who underwent a liver transplant in March 2013. Part of the royalties of the "Minsan may Isang Puta" book at Barnes and Noble Online goes to support the education of a young Yolanda survivor taking up B.S. Accounting at U.P. Tacloban.

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29 Comments on "Happy and independent, is the Filipino?"

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domo
Guest

Like I said before, so much for our independence if we can’t even protect ourselves from china that we need help from our foreign allies because they have the big guns against that bully country.

0077Hayden077777771Toro
Guest
0077Hayden077777771Toro
Freedom is an “illusion” to us…we are all shakled by the past. This is what our political leaders wanted; and we elected them. Feudalism stayed; the oligarchs ruled; the corrupt politicians flourished; political opportunism is the call of the day. We were scammed by Spain, thru the Treaty of Paris. Selling a colony, they no longer had control. We were scammed by the Americans, thru the “Battle of Manila Bay”…and the Laurel-Langley agreement… We were scammed by the Aquinos thru the “EDSA Revolution…”and, their hold of Hacienda Luisita; and their support to the NPA, MILF/ISIS/Al Queda… We remain Victims, because,… Read more »
Robert Haighton
Member

A flag upside down is a sign of distress, not war, right?

Raine
Guest

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, FAILIPINES! 🙂

ChinoF
Member

Failure of the uniform makers, for one. Failure of those checking the uniform, for two. Failure of everyone else involved to make the correction, for three. So combine it with the performance of the divers… we are looking like one sorry basket case of incompetence.

d_forsaken
Guest

Neolithic incompetence. Enough said.

benign0
Admin

Some say it is a small matter. But if you will examine the approaches of excellent societies like those of Germany and Japan and even Singapore, you will find that the virtue of attention to detail is a common denominator amongst them.

jay
Guest

how many members of congress and the senate has a dual foreign citizenship? they must open that for the public to know.

d_forsaken
Guest

Freedom is the right of all sentient beings. Freedom cannot be bestowed — it must be achieved. Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. To find yourself, think for yourself.

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.

saboteur
Guest

I remember Jonathan Baldwin of NFL Seattle Seahawks carried the flag upside down.

andrew
Guest
from Merriam-Webster: independence -freedom from outside control or support -the state of being independent our country is far from this and to me, everything is a setup from Spanish regime to U.S.A. all is a setup. I agree with Jose Rizal. we can only achieve independence if all Filipinos can stand up on their own. like a child (people) who is nurtured by good parents (government). sadly, our ship is turning the wrong way. the red area of our flag should be on the top part because we are at war right now. war against ignorance, nepotism, aristocracy, theocracy, corruption,… Read more »
Grimwald
Member

In the grim darkness in the future of the Philippines, there is only war…

Johnny Saint
Guest

Taking the dictionary meaning of ‘independent’ out of context is ludicrously superficial. Both romanticized references to a ‘war’ are crowd-pleasers, but so vague that they’re meaningless. Isn’t the prevailing position of GRP to move away from sentiment and slovenly thinking?

interxavier
Guest

The very fact that we have to leave the country to search for work elsewhere pretty much undermines the whole assertion that we are an independent country.

Johnny Saint
Guest
What kind of ludicrous reasoning is that? The suggestion that expatriate workers are evidence that the Philippines is NOT an independent nation is absurd. That kind of thinking is just sloppy. Try to understand this: People deciding to seek employment outside their country of birth is part of an interactive phenomenon called ‘FREE TRADE.’ Countries engage in free trade — whether it’s the exchange of products or services, particularly, LABOUR. The United States and Europe interact — trade — with Asia because there are things we here in Asia can do more efficiently than they can, and vice versa. The… Read more »
staser
Guest

Do you even know what free trade means? The United States for example has free trade agreements with 20 countries and the Philippines isn’t even one of them.

BING BONG
Guest
@ Stasser and Saint, The USA ‘Free-Trade Agreements’ are not what either of you think they are. These ‘laws’ were ways that allowed corporations to move manufacturing jobs, 40 million manufacturing jobs, outside of the USA without suffering punitive ‘IMPORT TAX/TARIFFS’ for doing so.and in doing so displacing USA workers,ending Union jobs and undermining the ‘Middle-class’. A classic example is the pathetic call center industry set up in the fail-ippines where USA banks that should pay workers $400/week in the USA, but pay filipino workers not even one tenth of that sum and bribe Filipino politicians for the purpose of… Read more »
BING BONG
Guest

The answer to the question is : NO.

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