The Philippines in 2013 remains dependent even on ‘Independence’ Day!

So once again we are celebrating “Independence” Day — or rather the date we would like to think the Philippines won its independence. I do wonder though why we continue to propagate the notion that we emerged from the year 1898 the winners. Last I heard, winners get to rule. Last I heard, we did not get to rule ourselves since that year until the 4th of July 1946.

So which of the two dates then is our real Independence Day? Is it the 12th of June 1898? Or is it the 4th of July 1946?

The answer to those questions does not really matter. With the benefit of hindsight, we can easily see that the decades that followed 1946 were really no different to the decades that followed 1898. There has never been anything about the Philippines that could even remotely be considered “Independent”. For what exactly are Filipinos “independent” from?

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My trusty dictionary provides us with three revealing things about the notion of being “independent”. To be independent means…

(1) to be free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority;

(2) to not depend on another for livelihood or subsistence; and,

(3) to not depend on something else for strength or effectiveness.

Can the Philippines be considered to be described by any one of these, much more all of these meanings today?

The answer to the above question comes so easy that this could just as easily be one of my shortest articles on account of the the point I want to make with regard to the notion of Philippine “independence” being quite clearly made at this point in the piece.


The thing, however, with facing a stark reality is that it reveals a challenge. What is the challenge Filipinos need to step up to given our evident failure to measure up to the demanding definition of true independence? The challenge for Filipinos is to continue to aspire for the distinction of being regarded as truly independent. Of course, aspiration is nothing without a plan to attain it. The plan to attain independence is not really that complicated. In fact this plan is very simple and requires only one sentence to articulate it:

The Philippines need to learn to produce what it needs, live within its means to produce said needs, and regain the capability to fight for its means to produce.

The good news is, at the very least, we are trying our best to attain the latter — the capability to fight for our means to produce stuff. The fact that the Philippines’ newest warship, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz reportedly armed with anti-submarine missiles, is as of this writing sailing from Guam to its new home with the Philippine Navy attests to this.

This is the way to go.

Military spending as a proportion of GDP in the Philippines in 2005 was a measly 0.90 percent, compared to 4.90 for Singapore, 4.50 for Brunei, 3.00 for Indonesia, 2.03 for Malaysia, and 1.80 for Thailand. For a country that prides itself in having the pound-for-pound greatest boxer in the world as one of its own, it is a pipsqueak where it matters. With millions of able-bodied Filipino men just wiling away their time on street corners drinking beer, the Philippines is a society of people begging for a clear purpose in their lives. Military service and the regimentation of a martial tradition can offer just that.

Even without the direct threat from China Filipinos are feeling at the moment, having a strong military gives substance to national pride — substance that no amount of waxing poetic about dead heroes, flaccid flag waving, or song and dance around street “revolutions” will ever come close to offering the Filipino.

The bad news, however, is we are on a development plan that is not consistent with the first two points of the plan — being able to produce what we need and live within said means to produce what we need. Unfortunately, the big “solution” everyone keeps harping about nowadays is old reliable foreign investment. The thinking behind that brainwave is that the number of unemployable Filipinos joining the workforce every year is just too enormous for the Philippines’ flaccid economy to put to good use. So the bright boys chant the “obvious” solution: we need to rely on foreign capital to plug the hole.

Where will that foreign capital increasingly come from? By the looks of it more and more of it will be coming from our new best friend — China. If we thought being dependent on the US, Japan, and western Europe for foreign capital was bad enough, imagine what it would be like being dependent on China for all that.

So much for aspiring to be independent.

Oh well.

Happy Independence Day! 😀

32 Replies to “The Philippines in 2013 remains dependent even on ‘Independence’ Day!”

  1. Hopefully I am wrong, but I think the definition of independence is totally opposite to what the Philippines is very well known, namely being family focused and family oriented. Plus they are not taught (not by the parents, not in school, not by peers, not by the TV news, not by the newspapers) to think independently. So I am lost here how the population and the definition can walk hand in hand. So maybe it would be a good start for future parents to raise their future kids with more independent thinking.

  2. Hmm today is more like a celebration of another year of “In Dependence” to another country or to whatever this country is smoking on as of late.

    Doesn’t really matter which date it is..for most of history, the only thing that has changed is who is our current master.

    As usual..”nganga na lang” =))

  3. The celebration of Independence Day is largely symbolic. We celebrate independence on this day because the revolutionary government declared independence from Spanish rule. I do agree that we are not totally free but then again, is there a country who’s absolutely independent? Even the US “depends” on China (in the form of debt). Believing in interdependence between nations is, after all, one of the key elements to successful developing nations. Do you see North Korea, a country who deliberately cut ties with other nations, being a developed country anytime soon?

    After all, Independence day celebrates the Filipino spirit. Today is the day Filipinos gained enough courage to fight tyranny as a nation despite the persecution that would come. Despite poverty, amidst all the challenges that Filipinos face, that spirit lives on up to this day. That should be enough reason for us to celebrate.

    1. independence for me is some one with freedom and enjoying the total benefits of life….away from coercion…abusive authorities…away from poverty….

  4. Your criticism about the “independence” of country is valid. However, I would like to offer an alternative way at looking at our Independence Day. As one commenter said, the celebration is largely symbolic because while the initial declaration is important, it loses its meaning if it does not have relevance today. That relevance that we celebrate today is the reminder that we, as a country, are capable of great things. True, the years that followed 1989 can be argued to far from being truly independent. But it can also be argued that far from being second class citizens of this world, we as a race have countless of times proven our mettle and merit. Individual Filipinos or OFWS as a group have shown their invaluable contribution to humanity. So as a country, we must re-collect ourselves even just one day a year and celebrate the Filipino nation, that for all that we lack, we persevere. But more importantly, we are reminded that the task of nation-building is never ending and is as challenging today as it was 115 years ago. Do we go around destroying the spirit of our nation? Or do we actually fight against the modern day monsters of corruption, government ineptitude and neo-colonial forces. Stand proud Filipino, you deserve to be free.

        1. Race is a concept of people based on perceptions. Like what you said about nations below, it is a construct of belief.

    1. Why should people bother to celebrate something that doesn’t exist? There was never a Filipino nation in the true sense of the word; we’re a bunch of tribes living among and despite each other. Some foreigner just happened to put a label to us in the name of his king and we latched on to it as if we did it ourselves.

      Let’s face it, whatever contributions Filipinos may think they have to humanity, they’re not unique or remarkable. The world”s largest supply of cheap labor? The world’s largest crybaby nation? The US’s most overbearing ally? Please.

      Whatever freedom Filipinos think they are entitled is merely an illusion that they fell for, and haven’t shaken off until this very day.

      1. Seems like you have the monopoly over what’s valuable and what isn’t. More importantly, a nation doesn’t have to be of one homogeneous gene pool. That’s a very slim definition. Nations have always been constructed out of belief.

        1. Yep, nations are constructed out of belief, so the celebration of independence is also constructed out of belief. Such belief can be questioned, since the foundation of having something to celebrate can be shaky.

    2. poverty…emanates from cruel blood suckers

      1. and for a lesson on how to accomplish that, PLEASE speak to the Virtual Vigliante. He has the right idea and just needs a lot of people helping to reach the aims sought.

  5. Independent – dictionary definition

    “not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinker.

    not influenced by the thought or action of others: independent

    not relying on another or others for aid or support.”

    The reality is that the philippines suffers from co-dependence economically, subservience culturally, and personal interests politically, aided and abetted by tribal thinking and dynastic rule.

    The news this week on rising jobless, a negative FDI in march,
    and lower university rankings show, amongst other key failings, that nothing is being done to change the fundamentals for the future, or societal transformation.

    And for the criminal/political elite the philippines is simply an easy place to extract money to fund education/property/holidays in the US, to whom they have more allegiance, and like to believe are their social counterparts!

    The endless anniversaries, flag waving, and ‘pride’ propaganda is more to do with political brand marketing than anything else.

    Real pride comes from real achievements and respect has to be earnt.

    The chains of serfdom are just as strong as ever for the vast majority, and for the oligarchs/power brokers that is how they like it.

  6. We’re celebrating independence… from what exactly?

    Perhaps from good sense, as the state of our country evidences.

      1. Yes, but the thing is, no matter the history, it’s certain that how we’re doing today shows signs that many Filipinos are not acting with good sense. Just looking around one’s immediate surroundings in the country is enough to show this.

  7. it is laughable to think that the Philippines even BELIEVES (collectively, that is) that it is Independent. the very obvious fact that the country has to call Uncle Sam every time a storm hits Manila should be evidence enough that the holiday is a sham and needs to be renamed.
    as the money tidal wave shifts towards China and S.E. Asia it is also obvious that the next country the people who run the country will be hoping in to bed with (and thereby selling the rest of citizenry’s futures to)is. These countries leaders privately despise Filipino’s and if the Filipino collectively thinks that it is a good idea to get in-extricably involved with Beijing, well…..Good luck with that.
    The country has long had the resources to be self-sufficient and one must wonder what it is in the national psyche that makes an entire nation of people’s leaders think they need “Foreign investment” (unless it is to just commit robberies).

  8. Benigno,
    What if our ancestors did not asked and fought for independence from the Americans, what do you think is the present situation of the Philippines?

    1. Sorry to intrude.

      All other things being the same, America would have abandoned the Philippines after World War II. Post war rebuilding in the US would have prompted them to focus on their internal concerns over their foreign territories. Between Japan and the Philippines, America would have poured more effort into rebuilding Japan as a conquered territory; Filipinos already having shown loyalty to the US, fighting in the American war effort.

  9. How about starting to depend less on foreign music? Every time you turn on the radio, the majority of music is all these old, ooooooold American songs. Every time new American hits come out, everyone is dying to get new original CDs. The Kanos are so happy you make them rich.
    I raised that question many times and the response was– well we were colonized by Americans, that’s why. Newsflash: So were all the SE Asians except Thailand. The Vietnamese do not play French music all day, the HK people don’t play the Beatles all day. The Indonesians do not go ga-ga over the latest Dutch group.
    Where can we find a club in Manila which plays all Filipino songs and dances Filipino dances? After all, we are in the Philippines.

  10. We can’t generalized all Filipinos & I refused to say we are dependent to the US or to anyone ! We are people ( or maybe not all of us) who are God fearing people who are very Grateful to God for His Favor in sending other people/ countries in our way to help us be the country that is Blessed by Him not because of what we or others did but because of what God did and still doing in our life ! Just be Thankful to our God The Creator of everything
    “So if the Son ( Jesus Christ ) sets you free you are truly free ” Jonh 8:36

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