Category: independence day
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.
i laughed inside when i saw this article July 4, not June 12 in the opinion page of inquirer online. it’s been 50 years since president diosdado macapagal moved it to june 12 (from july 4 which is also america’s independence day), and june 12 has worked pretty well, at least hindi masyadong halata o buking ang american hand.
i wondered if that was why macapagal made the change and if there was a clamor for it at the time. or was it purely a president’s sensitivity to anti-neocolonial sentiments. so i googled it, and LOL this is what i found in wikipedia: stanley karnow (In Our Image) quoting macapagal as saying, some years later:
“When I was in the diplomatic corps, I noticed that nobody came to our receptions on the Fourth of July, but went to the American Embassy instead. So, to compete, I decided we needed a different holiday.”
only in the philippines. and then, again, baka naman it was just one of many reasons, just the one karnow chose to highlight? so i googled it some more, and found the official reasons in the national historical commission’s website.
First, United States celebrates independence day every July 4, the day Americans declared their independence not 3 September 1783 when Great Britain recognized their liberty;
Second, if the Philippines celebrates its independence day every July 4, our celebration would be dwarfed by the US celebration;
Third, June 12 was the most logical date since Filipinos were not actually particular about fixing of dates, what we actually cared for is independence itself;
Fourth, if the Philippines celebrates common independence day with USA, other nations might believe that the Philippines is still a part of United States.
‘yun na pala ‘yon. wala lang, para me dumating sa party. wala man lang pretense at a sense of history. wala lang.
so no to that same old debate. if we cared more, we would want a bonifacio kind of declaration, a celebration of those first shining moments — no back stories, no unseen hands, purely indio, purely pinoy. never mind that it was aborted nine months later. kahit credit where credit is due man lang.
patong patong ang talo. first, panatag. then jessica. then corona. then pacquiao.
i know i know, many of you will say, “then corona” does not belong. the corona conviction was a win, not a loss. yes, a win for the prez and his cohorts and supporters, but is it a win for the long-term? will the precedents that have been set prove to be of benefit to the nation? we don’t know that yet. all i know is, the system of checks-and-balances has been undone. now we wait and see what the president will do with unchecked unbalanced power. it better be good.
but to get back to the string of losses, pacquiao’s in particular. on anc’s teleradyo right now, ronnie nathanielz, karen davila, and vic de leon lima are practically beatifying manny, declaring him a saint, for the way he took the loss — such humility, such class, such submission to god’s will daw. sey pa ni davila, manny is “the living testimony of god’s faith.” susmaryosep. later, in a headstart replay, nathanielz said, manny was “presidential” in the way he accepted defeat. god, no, please. let us not be carried away.
it is so pinoy, this kind of response to loss, defeat, calamity. first we very quickly find someone else to blame, such as the judges, the mafia, sinister forces. then we turn to religion and politics for consolation and distraction. good job.
i saw the first half of the fight — from the national anthems to round 7 yata yon — and i wasn’t optimistic for pacquiao. parang it was too close a fight. and bradley was so much broader and more heavily muscled, and younger. no problem, if this had been in manny’s younger days, too, but manny 2012 is not as light and fast as he used to be, and not as strong. to my brother it looked like pacquiao couldn’t have taken bradley down, even if he wanted to. hindi na niya kayang magpatumba. yes he should have won this one, but not really by much.
one day i hope we can get past the in-denial and alalay-kay-pacquaio mood into a more honest and constructive what-happened-to-pacquiao mode. para we know better, next time.
anong nangyari kay manny? is this par for the course? is pacquiao at 33 past his boxing peak? what if manny had not been distracted by showbiz, politics, and religion? what if he had focused on boxing, training, and, on the side, setting up training centers for would-be winners like him? might he have been still in shape to knock out, knock down, the younger bradley?
i wonder whose advise pacquiao has been listening to all these years as he lurched instead from showbiz to politics to religion to anti-RH to bible-reading and preaching. whoever you guys are, shame on you. what a disservice to pacquiao and nation.
and, finally, on this 12th of june, a word about jessica sanchez, the filipino-mexican-american who almost won american idol, to our great pride and joy, and who sang the u.s. national anthem in the pacquiao-bradley match. i actually bothered to get up earlier than usual just so i could catch her live on on pay tv (at my cousin’s next door).
it was weird. i thought it was kind of twisted that we were more kilig by her rendition of the star-spangled banner than by the unknown pinay’s rendition of lupang hinirang.
and when manny lost, and jessica tweeted: congrats to the new winner but i’m still really upset about the results :( natawa na lang ako. lukso ng dugo? maybe she should have declined the gig na lang, but how was she to know he would lose, how could she have foreseen what it would feel like. well, now she knows.
ang mas nakakatawa, many pinoys, including conrado de quiros, actually thought jessica would be singing lupang hinirang. i had no such akala. she’s american, ano ba.