Saturday, June 9, 2012

How Much Is Your Country?... and the Value of Independence?


defunct Philippine 5-peso bill depicting
the proclamation of independence from Spain in 1898
Mine was worth 20 Million US Dollars  -  the year was 1898, in the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States of America for 20 Million Dollars.

We should always remember our history in order to clearly see where we are headed.  3 Stars and the Sun - that's the Philippine national flag, one important reminder of the battles our ancestors have fought .

Aside from the shouting fans, the most familiar thing you'll see in Manny Pacquiao's sold-out fights are the Philippine flags waving about.  When one Filipino waves that little flag, I wonder what he thinks about...

8-division world champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao is set to face undefeated Timothy "Dessert Storm" Bradley Jr. in the Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena ring tomorrow, June 10 (Philippine time).  Will the younger and more aggressive junior welterweight titleholder snatch the welterweight belt from the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world?  We will find out soon enough.


Aside from Manny Pacquiao's much talked about fight, there is also one important celebration in the Philippines.  The Philippines will celebrate it's 114th Independence Day on June 12Here's a bit of controversy.  When I was a kid and with all of the stories I have been told by my dear grandfather, I thought that the real INDEPENDENCE DAY of the Philippines was in July 4 of 1946 when the Americans, after World War II,  granted its territory, the Philippine islands, its independence.  Whaaat???  First, let me just say that my lolo (grandfather) is some sort of an expert witness… well, he lived in those times and apparently a "first hand" eyewitness.  Let me expound on the topic.

Why don't we create a timeline so we can understand this controversy better:

Philippine-American War, 1899
1521 to 1898
  • 377 long years of oppressive Spanish regime;
  • in 1896, Filipino martyr, Jose Rizal, who wanted reforms from the Spanish government, was put to death through a firing squad.  This led to the increase in the number of bloody uprisings against Spain notably by the revolution led by hero Andres Bonifacio;
  • in the Battle of Manila Bay, in the Spanish-American War, the Americans defeated the Spanish squadrons that led to the occupation of the Philippines by the Americans;
  • June 12, 1898, the first time the flag of the Philippines was waved in Kawit, Cavite, at the home of General Emilio Aguinaldo, one of the revolutionary leaders;
  • on December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed.  Spain sold the Philippines to the United States of America for 20 Million Dollars.
1899 to 1946
  • 47 years of American regime;
  • 1899 - 1902, the period of Philippine-American War, where Filipinos revolted against American Rule;
  • 1935 - commonwealth government established in the Philippines, the first step in relinquishing the Philippines back to the Filipinos;
  • 1941-1945
    • the gruesome World War II;
    • 4 years Japanese occupation of the Philippines.  It ended a year after General Douglas McArthur returned to the Philippines.  The Americans recovered the Philippines from the Japanese;
  • In 1946, the Treaty of Manila was signed, granting the Philippines complete independence from the United States of America.

Now you make the analysis.  For me, the June 12, 1898 should have been the proclamation of independence from Spain.  The Philippine at that time isn't at all independent since the United States of America succeeded Spain in controlling the islands.   In my opinion, the July 4, 1946 is the true independence day since it was only at that time that the Philippines is ruled by Filipinos.

June 12 is Flag Day and July 4 is Independence Day.  Why former President Diosdado Macapagal changed this in 1964, designating June 12 as the Philippine Independence Day is something that would remain a question and a controversy for a long time.

If  my memory serves me right, during the dictatorship regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, like a ping-pong ball, July 4 was designated Independence Day but was returned back to June 12.  July 4 then became Philippine-American Friendship Day.  This is a real controversy but has died down over the years.

The thing is, we declare certain significant dates because of the history behind it.  July 4, 1946 is more meaningful and more appropriate as Independence Day because it signifies true independence and takes into consideration the heroism of Filipinos - the blood, sweat, and tears in all of those battles, from the Spanish-time revolts, to the Spanish-American War, to the Philippine-American War, and up to the Word War II.  July 4, 1946 for me is the culmination of the Filipino people's cry for independence form the Spanish, American, and Japanese regimes.  

In any case, I am proud of the flag that will be waving tomorrow, June 10, 2012, in Manny Pacquiao's bout in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and everywhere here in the Philippines on June 12, 2012.  I also hope that the flag will be waved by all Filipinos scattered all around the world.  MABUHAY!

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