| Photo by Richard Trois via Wikimedia Creative Commons
Part IV of the “ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E.” Series
This columnist started in 1997 a campaign to persuade Filipino national policy and decision-makers to designate the Fourth of July the “Filipino-American (Fil-Am) ‘Interdependence Day’ (FAID)” — at least in the United States. It can be done if the “ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E.” succeeds in its electoral campaign in the 2022 Philippine presidential, congressional, and local elections.
Here is an abridged history of my campaign to declare the “FAID” initiative of the Philippine government.
WHY THE NEED FOR IT. I was chosen — at an election at the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) — the overall chairman of the Philippine Independence (PI) Fiesta and Parade held on July 7, 2003, at the Historic Filipinotown (sic) in Los Angeles, CA. I was faced with a quandary. I explained that the June 12, 1898, declaration of independence was for the First Philippine Republic. It was a declaration of freedom from Spain. The Fourth of July in 1946 marked the beginning of the country’s independence from the United States and the start of the Second Philippine Republic. How do I reconcile both events and appear not to abandon my belief in the legitimacy of the Fourth of July as the real Independence Day of the Philippines?
HOW THE “FAID” STARTED. My wife and I were invited to a reception at the PCG in Los Angeles. In August 1997, then Philippine Independence Centennial Commission (PICC) Chairman Salvador (Doy) H. Laurel visited the Filipino-American community. He was in town to rally Filipino Americans for the coming (June 12, 1898) Centennial. I was personally known to Dr. Laurel.
“We came in early, and many of the Filipino-American guests adhered to the so-called ‘Filipino time.’ I had, therefore, lots of quality time with Dr. Laurel. I presented him my 1996 essay about the 1946 PI Day and an autographed copy of my political novel, One Day in the Life of a Filipino Sonovabitch. I suggested to Dr. Laurel that the PICC support our Media Breakfast Club’s slogan for June 1997. The slogan was, 1898-1998: A Century of Philippine-American Relations and Interdependence.‘ Dr. Laurel asked me to write him, and he would see if the theme that I suggested could be done for the United States. But I never heard again from Doy Laurel. Our club came up with the only PI Centennial commemorative coffee mug in June 1998 in Southern California. The mug had both the Filipino and American flags and the slogan printed in it.
“From a historical perspective, Dr. Laurel missed the point that I argued with him. I told him that Americans were indifferent to the June 12, 1898, centennial. Because they maintained that America granted the real independence to the Philippines only on July 4, 1946.”
MORE IDEA-SELLING TO THE FIL-AM COMMUNITY. “After I was elected the overall chairman of the 2006 Kalayaan PI Steering Committee in Los Angeles. Filipino diplomats conducted the election at the PCG. Again I had to explain my stand on the June 12 PI vis-à-vis the July 4 PI. I tried to persuade the Kalayaan volunteers to adopt a second theme for the Kalayaan celebrations, aside from the official theme given by the Philippine government. I suggested the theme, “Making Filipino Americans look good, feel good, proud of their multiethnic heritage and prouder of their positive contributions to the United States.” Either my suggested theme was too long or the community’s command of history was too short.”
Here is the link to the essay, The Fourth of July Is RP-US “Interdependence Day.
WHY “INTERDEPENDENCE”? Because another reason is that the Philippines needs the United States as the largest economy in the world. And, ergo, the biggest employer of foreign skilled workers and technical whiz kids. On the other hand, Filipinos are the most trusted allies of the U.S. in Asia; and the most Americanized people in the Pacific Islands.