Freedom can mean many things. On Independence Day, what is remembered and celebrated is freedom from colonial rule, from occupation by another nation. Some politicians and nationalists celebrate it as the “granting of Independence,” as if it was a gift that was bestowed by a generous colonial power and for which we should be forever grateful. In fact it is a right to be regained.
Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos fought and died in bloody atrocious wars against the Spanish and then soon after, against the American occupying forces and later against the Japanese. We must remember that nothing was “given” that was not first taken away by force of arms.
There is no gift of sovereignty and independence is a sacred right for people to rule themselves and freely elect their own leaders.
National Freedom for a people is to freely chart ones own destiny, write a constitution, elect a government of the people, for the people, by the people, who can freely choose those who will serve them with loyalty, integrity, honesty and sacrifice.
They want their leaders to be wise, educated, dedicated to building a nation where the great universal values of human and economic rights and rule of just laws are respected and practiced equally for all. The Filipino patriots who fought for freedom wanted a nation like that, where there would be equal opportunity and freedom to live a dignified life and to prosper by hard work.
A nation where the national resources and wealth are used fairly to generate wealth that is distributed fairly and which provides the means to live out the values enshrined in the constitution. Independence is supposed to bring this great benefit and many fought and died for such a freedom.
True independence is to be free from the restraining and controlling power of any powerful and dominant nation and to be free from the economic chains and political engineering of multinational corporations. Sovereignty is the golden word of national freedom and expresses the values that can bring a people to a dignified life free from poverty, hunger, oppression, sickness, homelessness, unemployment and exploitation.
In the Philippines, a real sense of patriotic nationhood, a nation in diversity but united proudly in its own identity is as yet a dream, a hope of those who strive for real independence and freedom. Those who fought and died opposing dictators and foreign powers, did so in vain, many a historian would claim.
These idealistic sentiments of national independence make many an educated, thinking and intelligent Filipino squirm with embarrassment, frustration and shame. Others fume with repressed fury, anger and frustration. They see so plainly that such magnificent values and ideals that once inspired the freedom fighters to fight and to die now see them betrayed, trampled and shredded.
Such freedom dreams are the stuff of Independence Day speeches that are repeated at boring college graduations where the majority of students and parents are giggling, tittering and checking their Facebook profiles and taking selfies non-stop. Few are listening with attention to the once long lost ideals of what it is to be a free nation.
The reality today is a divided and conquered people. To be conquered is a tragedy, but to be conquered and not know it is the greatest tragedy of all. The once beautiful Philippines is a nation of 100 million people ruled by 140 dynastic families. Perhaps twenty of them are the mega rich who are mightier than the rest. All have countless relatives and province-mates imbedded in the heart and veins of government sucking the life energy of the people into their own financial blood streams.
The stock market booms for the few yet the nation is impoverished, made a mighty slum. It manufactures little, imports almost all. There is no ability to defend or the poor to prosper. The corruption of the elite has siphoned the wealth into the accounts of the ruling elite and dynastic families and the coffers of the multinationals.
They rule to benefit themselves and their multinational partners and they favor foreign powers both military and economic. The majority of the 100 million Filipinos are excluded from the growing prosperity of the elites. The people have been captured, imprisoned, exploited and no end is in sight. When serious opposition arises the local politicians take care of it. They rule by fear. As I previously wrote; They issue threats of execution and impose the death penalty for so-called unspecified crimes, crimes that are not investigated, are undocumented, unknown and for which there is no evidence, no accusers, or prosecution and trial. The innocent are judged guilty and killed.
It is state sanctioned murder. But it works. The politician points a finger, utters a name, sends a text, makes a call and the victims – journalists, pastors, priests, human rights workers, even street children – are shot or stabbed dead. It is the way of some powerful politicians to assert and hold power over others from whom they demand submission and docility, praise and adulation.
It is murder on a grand scale, but one by one.
It is a ruling system of tyrannical dictatorship in a fake democracy. It is killing done in the name of public service. How gullible and ignorant are those who swallow that lie and praise the tyrants and their “safe” cities.
These elites will rise to even greater power and any appearance of ‘Independence’ will be truly gone.
People have to be given faith and believe that change is possible, that Eternal Goodness is a force for freedom.
They need to be organized, awakened, educated, inspired to struggle for justice and resist the rule by the few over the many. It’s risky, the death squads are ready and waiting and the true patriots are all dead. Or are they?