Blogger’s Note: I am reposting this entry a week before the actual independence day celebration of 2010. This year’s independence day celebration will also be marked by the proclamation of a new president. It had been an interesting year for the country. We just finished a hotly contested election which had its usual trademark of Guns, Goons, and Gold. However – this year – after so many years, we have conducted an automated election. Of course, this has been a curve ball for a lot of our politicians who could not figure out how they can either cheat or how they can protest when they lose when technology is involved. It was interesting times but once again – as a nation we prove to make progress in spite of how poorly most Filipinos think of our own nation.
Today is the Philippine Independence Day. The Filipino nation declared its independence from its Spanish colonial masters on June 12, 1898 after being a colony for over 200 years. Soon after that, the Spanish and the Americans declared war against each other and for a sum of money, it was agreed that the Philippines will become a colony of the United States. In American history, the Filipinos' resistance against the Americans was considered a rebellion. From the Filipinos it is a war since the Americans were actually taking over a nation who has just won its fight its former colonial master. Of course like any events in two nations histories, the two nations see the same events differently.
The Americans were actually divided over what to do with the Philippines. All of us recognize that the Americas was once a colony of England. In its declaration of independence they actually swore as a nation not to allow the same fate to be experienced by other nations. Therefore as a nation, the Americans could not reconcile their aspiration to be the next super power and there's no better declaration of that stature than to claim their prize of having the Philippines as a a colony. They can not reconcile this aspiration with their declaration that they will not allow another nation's freedom be trampled by another power. In the end -- the argument was offered that it is the American's responsibility to GUIDE their new FILIPINO brothers towards being a mature democracy. The Philippines then became an American Colony for half a century. Towards the end of that half century, the Philippines actually became a Japanese colony brought about by the Second World War. As we all know the Americans won that war, the Philippines was brought back into the American Jurisdiction and shortly after that, the Americans gave the Philippines its independence. In a move to closely align our two nations history - they gave the independence on July 4. For years, the Philippines declared its independence day on July 4. This was later changed to the original independence day of June 12 as a result of stronger nationalism in the Philippines and remembering that our declaration that we are an independent nation was made on June 12, 1898.
I've always been a proud Filipino. My upbringing actually has a lot to do with it since my parents had always been liberal nationalists. This is why the Philippine History had been a fascinating subject for me. As you can see from this post, I am actually more interested in the inside stories of History rather than the facts and dates which we were forced to memorize in school.
In my heart - I value the freedom that our forefathers have given us. As a free nation - we actually made mistakes and sometimes we learn from it and sometimes we don't. But I guess being independent is not about how much mistakes you make - it is actually about being able to decide as a people what your destiny is instead of being annexed by another.