Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan Hunyo 12
My posting for June 12, Philippines Independence Day is a few days late. I was trying to find a photo from my stamp collection that was showing the different flags that was used during the Philippine Revolution.
This day is probably one of the more controversial dates in Philippine history. Is it really June 12 or July 04? Are the dates a technicality or is it more of substance over form? It was said that when it was still being observe on July 04, very few people and diplomats attended our Independence Day celebration abroad since it also coincided with the Americans Independence Day celebrations. It was Uncle Sam’s way of molding us into his own image and which I guess he did not have much difficulty in turning us into “little brown Americans” (hence I write in English.)
I think it was a wise decision to move our Independence Day to June 12 over July 04 and which I believe was appropriate. For this was what our forefathers have fought for and sacrificed so much to try and achieve self rule.
The First Philippine Republic (Malolos Republic) through the Malolos Congress (fortunately Barasoain church and convent still stands) drafted a constitution. There were also government officials elected and installed. It printed its own stamps which included postage, documentary and revenue stamps. In other words, a form of government did existed.
Coins were minted and paper money printed. Both the coins and paper money of the Philippine Revolutionary government is considered scarce and even rare. The only time I saw a coin from this period up close, was when the collection of Mariano Cacho was displayed at the lobby of Far East Bank’s main branch in Makati and this was in preparation back in 1997 for the celebration of the Centennial of Philippine Independence. I have not seen in person the paper money that was printed during this time, but I’ve seen them on an on-line auction a few years ago and the prices realized reached into the thousands of dollars.
The Revolutionary Government has a standing army which was branded as insurgents by both colonialist, the Spanish and later on, by the Americans.
After the declaration in Kawit, Cavite by Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo and the establishment of the first republic, I think international recognition was the only thing lacking to fully establish the new republic as a new country. But the question was would have it been recognized by the international community and would have the other provinces, in particular those in the Visayas and Mindanao joined in the newly formed government. But before even this could happen, the established leadership was duped into unofficially (or more like a “so he thought”) allying himself with the US. But even before that, the Revolution was already in trouble with a problem that still plagues us to this day. Disunity brought about by politics (and cheating) and vested interest. So in 1897, the Supremo- Andres Bonifacio and his brother were tried, sentenced and executed in Cavite by his own countrymen and members of the movement which he himself founded.
So after being left out of the victory celebrations by the Americans and with the Spaniards suddenly developing a fear of the people of their former colony after more than 300 years, the former masters requested to not let the Revolutionary forces enter Intramurous. For the Filipino revolutionary forces by then have surrounded the vicinity of Manila and are close to the walled city. The Americans still lacking in manpower and cavalry, had the Filipinos do the work only to be left out of Intramuros literally when negotiations for the capitulation were being conducted. Without any consent from the populace of the former colony, the Treaty of Paris (1898) was signed and the Philippines sold lock, stock and barrel.
After all these events, then came the Philippine-American War which was classified as an Insurgency even if we had declared our independence and a republic declared with its own form of government. Since this was a David and Goliath kind of battle, the Revolutionary Government was on the retreat and another sad chapter in Philippine history. Intrigues, politics, ill discipline and vested interest reared its ugly head with the death of Gen. Antonio Luna like Andres Bonifacio, still at the hands of his countrymen. The Revolution suffered from disunity and poor leadership; from people who were more politicians than revolutionaries and patriots. The beginning of the end happened, with the capture of Pres. Aguinaldo with the help of the (Filipino) Macabebe scouts. With most of the personalities involve having taking their Oath of Allegiance to the US, it was pretty much over. Then as now, with new opportunities and para maka posisyon habang maaga, comes the Filipino politicians turning balimbing or turncoats. Very familiar indeed. The situation back then was not so different from what is happening in the country for the past several decades.
I was surprised to find out that a Filipino community in the US celebrates our independence day publicly in a park and held it with a fiesta atmosphere with food, cultural presentations and a narrative as to what led to the Revolution. To me this signifies hope and that the Revolution of 1898 with its declaration of Independence has not been forgotten.
If only we could understand more of our history and past experiences and show a better appreciation for our past. If we invest and use properly our resources, through the proper education of our children, maybe we can brake out of the vicious cycle (due to a poor grasp of our past) that has been plaguing our society for decades.