@MsLeaSalonga’s famous june 12 tweet
it’s a good question – even a trick question, sort of – and would take a clear sense of history and politics and some soul-searching to answer. simply impossible in 140 characters.
what are we free from?
certainly not from debt, poverty, crime, or corruption — lea’s right. but also certainly not from “colonizers” – lea’s bashers are wrong.
our last colonizer is still very much around in a neo kind of way – not openly or overtly, rather, underhandedly and covertly, with our leaders acting as witting, some unwitting, dummies, or puppets, sort of.
we like to think we are free to shape a sovereign future for nation, but we are not, really. think EDCA. think “free” trade. think mamasapano. think english.
all we are really free from is the sight of americans mismo in positions of power. all we are really free from is a clear sense of the ever-steady grip of the american hand on our economic and political and military affairs.
but that – being not really free – is not what we celebrate.
i grew up with parents who would religiously bring out the family’s philippine flag and hang it in front of the house every time june 12 came around. but i also had an aunt nearby who would always quietly snort at the ritual, once whispering to me, we’re not free, there’s nothing to celebrate. so i’ve always been of two minds about it.
just the same i hang out my philippine flag june 12 to july 4, year after year. once i forgot, back when gloria moved the holiday to the nearest monday, or was it friday, in aid of “holiday economics.” i was surprised to feel so awful about forgetting, like i had failed my parents, my lolos and lolas, all the way back to rizal and bonifacio and, sige na nga, aguinaldo na rin, in the struggle to keep the flame of freedom alive.