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Why we should not celebrate Philippine Independence Day

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Every year on this day we celebrate our independence from colonialists (particularly Spain). But are we really independent from a foreign power?

The answer is in the negative.

The truth is, the Philippines has never been independent. Never was, never is.

As I have contended many times, the Philippines is a Spanish creation. For good or for worse, without the Spanish conquest of this oriental archipelago which we now claim to be our own, there would have been no Philippines to talk about. Thus, the Spanish conquest should not be considered as days of colonialism (in the Spanish context, colonialism is different from its English counterpart).

What happened on that fateful day of 12 June 1898 was borne out of a Tagalog rebellion led by Andrés Bonifacio and his band of KatipunerosEmilio Aguinaldo, after suffering defeat from the hands of both Spanish and Filipino troops a year before (which culminated in the controversial Pacto de Biac-na-Bató), sought the help and support of his brother US Masons while in Hong Kong. He was, in effect, preparing for another showdown against the Philippine government (a clear violation of the pact which he had agreed to). It is implied, therefore, that during his stay in Hong Kong Aguinaldo had learned the rudiments of democracy and republicanism (something that an unschooled person could never learn overnight), and he planned to install these Masonic ideals once Christian monarchy falls in the Philippines.

Several days after the US invasion of the Philippines (commonly known as the Battle of Manila Bay), Aguinaldo returned from exile, interestingly aboard a US dispatch-boat. And then a month later, on 12 June 1898, he unabashedly proclaimed the independence of the whole country despite the fact that the Spanish authorities have never given up the seat of power. This premature independence declaration was pushed through because Aguinaldo thought that he had the powerful backing of the US. This is evident enough in the declaration of independence itself:

…los Estados Unidos de la América del Norte, como manifestación de nuestro profundo agradecimiento hacia esta Gran Nación por la desinteresada protección que nos presta…

 That makes the independence declaration a hollow one. It is as if we could not become independent of our own accord if not for the assistance of another country. And to make things worse, the Aguinaldo government was never recognized by both the Spanish and US authorities nor was it recognized by the international community of nations. His presidency was not even recognized by the whole country. Filipinos outside the Tagalog regions, although they were (or could be) aware of the political turmoil that has been happening in the capital since 1896, could not have known nor heard about the independence declaration in Cauit (Kawit). And would have they supported it?

Definitely not.

This is unknown to many Filipinos today: in the siege of Aguinaldo (which culminated in the aforementioned Pact of Biac na Bató), both Spanish and Filipino troops united to defeat the Tagalog rebellion. And that defeat was celebrated in Manila afterwards.

It is more correct that what we should commemorate every 12th of June is not Independence Day per se but the declaration of our independence, an independence that never was.

To his credit, Aguinaldo tried hard to legitimize that independence declaration by sending emissaries to the Treaty of Paris. But the Philippine delegation was not accepted there. And following the events of 12 June, Aguinaldo belatedly realized the inevitable: that the US did help him, but at a cost: our nation itself was to become their first milking cow. In short, he was double-crossed by those he thought were his allies.

After a brief but bloody tumult (World War II), the US finally granted us on 4 July 1946 what we thought was our full independence. But in exchange for that independence, we had to agree to the notorious Bell Trade Act of 1946; among other unfair clauses in that act, it forever pegged the Philippine peso to the US dollar. That date (which is also the date of the US’ independence from the British colonials) had been celebrated until 1962 when then President Diosdado Macapagal put back 12 June on the calendar of Philippine holidays. According to some nationalists, Macapagal believed that the Philippines was already independent from Spain since 12 June, and that the US simply did not respect our autonomy from the Spaniards. But in doing so it only paved the way for more hispanophobia, making Filipinos of today hate our Spanish past even more.

It is becoming common knowledge —especially in recent times— that the independence granted to us by the US (the real colonials) was nothing more but a hollow declaration written on cheap paper. In a stricter sense, we are no longer a colony of the US, but we are still under their mantle — through neocolonialism, the new evil.

The Philippines has never been independent. Never was, never is. But will it ever be?

*******

First published exactly last year in Facebook (My Notes), originally entitled as “We Have Never Been Independent”, this time with minor edits. Like us on Facebook; click here! :D

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9 responses »

  1. John Christian Canda

    Unfortunately, historians who subscribe to the Zaides and Agoncillo don’t make history kind to the truth.

    Reply
  2. History is human self-knowledge. Knowing yourself means knowing, first, what it is to be a person; secondly, knowing what it is to be the kind of person you are; and thirdly, knowing what it is to be the person you are and nobody else is. Knowing yourself means knowing what you can do; and since nobody knows what they can do until they try, the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.

    I hope that this Independence Day sparks all Filipinos all over the world to learn and appreciate their rich history, celebrate it through their culture and build a better country based on their beliefs, values, and dreams.

    Happy Independence Day!

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Happy Independence Day « nebraskaenergyobserver

  4. Daniel Estulin (best selling author, investigative journalist, documentary film producer and former agent of Soviet Military Counterintelligence) rightly points out that there is really only one super-power empire in the world at present – the British Empire, which is ruled not by the Queen from Buckingham Palace but by the financial elite (that includes the great banking families, the royal families of Britain and the Netherlands and corporate moguls) in the City of London (a juridically sovereign entity surrounded by Metropolitan London and the UK, analogous to the Vatican State surrounded by Italy). Through the Royal Institute of International Affairs is dictated the foreign policy of the USA, the 18 countries ruled by the British Monarchy and all the countries financially and/or militarily dominated by the USA. The British supply the brains and leadership while the Americans provide the military muscle. Thosse banking families that rule from the City of London are the private foreign owners of the US Federal Reserve — a privately entity. Hence, US Imperialism is really a subservient proxy for the restructured British Empire which is dominated not by ethnic Brits but by the super rich of more cosmopolitan bloodlines.. No country can be truly independent until the international tyranny of that Empire is destroyed. The Filipinos fought a war for independence against Spain only to be conquered by the Americans and were thus subsumed into the Empire. Here in Ireland our ancestors fought for 700 years for a partial indepencence, and while six counties of our country are still occupied by British forces — the 26 counties of the Irish Republic remain under the power of the Empire. The collapse of the Eurozone & the US Dollar and the Anglo-American wars from North Africa to South Asia are being deliberately engineered by Them in order to increase the power of the International Imperialism of Money over the nations of the world — and then their published agenda is to rerduce the world’s population by 90%. Only God can save humanity from this threat.

    Reply
  5. Paul Kramer, that’s an interesting commentary…didn’t know that these Yanks have the Brits as their boss, with the Dutch as the other partners…interesting that their German sibling is not in the picture today. Probably we should get Mr. Estulin for some of our covert operations. :P

    Pepe, we should have “mock celebrated” the 4th of July! The 12th of June has been nullified more than a century ago! Yay for Anglo-Saxon imperial power! 8-| (rolls eyes)

    Reply
  6. Philippine independence is an illusion. Some want to return the July four date of Filipino independence because the June 12 date does not satisfy them. But as a Filipino I prefer the June 12 independence date. At least it is a Filipino illusion. Moreover, to go back to July 4 would be a blatant copy-cat feat on the part of Filipinos. Why do we need to have the same independence date as the Americans who delayed our independence for almost half a century? In all the countries where there is a Philippine embassy or consulate, all the other diplomats will attend the US July 4 reception in the US embassy and ignore the Filipino reception on the same date. Those for July 4 as Philippine Independence date should first ask the US TO MAKE the Philippines a US STATE automatically making all Filipinos American citizens. But so long as Filipinos are not automatically converted first into American or US citizens, to ask for JULY 4 as the Filipino independence date is not only the most supine of stupidities born out of the despicable colonial mentality that afflicts many Filipinos, it is the grave mark of shameless ignorance about Filipino history.

    Reply
  7. Perhaps we should define the word “INDEPENDENCE” by your articles assumption; no country on this planet is independent. Naturally so since we all depend on our neighbors in one form or another.

    Perhaps you need to change your take on the meaning of independence. It as much a statement of our conviction, rather than a statement of fact.

    When we claimed independence we made our intention clear to the rest of the world that we are Sovereign. Many times this claim has been put to the test and we have fought tooth and nail, scrapped, bleed and even died, to assert this declaration. Even if we lost.

    We must remind our people every chance we get, How we were able to attain this degree of control over our own destiny. It may not be complete control, but give me one example of such complete control and I shall show you a tyranny.

    To discard our independence day is to dishonor the memories of the men and women who fought for, bled for and died for the very freedoms we now enjoy.

    Independence Day. Freedom form tyranny. Freedom from fear. Freedom from slavery. Freedom to choose our own destiny, our mate, where we live, where we work. Freedom to think, to share, to love. To laugh. Freedom to post this blog, or post a reply to this blog. On independence day – we remember freedom.

    A freedom that is attacked everyday by those who would silence us, and control us and crush us under the heel of tyranny . A law that makes a blog a cybercrime. A regulation that bans women from work, or a boss who discriminates against race, sex or religion.

    We celebrate Independence Day to remind us that we are free and we must fight to stay free.

    Why celebrate Independence Day?

    Because we are free to do so.

    Reply
  8. Matthew Lawrence Supnet

    Correction: The defeat was celebrated in KAWIT, CAVITE. Not in Manila.

    Reply
  9. ¿Que tal todo? He estado siguiendo con atencion tu weblog por mucho tiempo hasta estos momentos y al ffin tengo el valor
    de postear desde Valverde de Llerena Pueblo de Espaa .Solamente queria decirte que sigas realizando tan importante tarea!

    Reply

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