BELIEVE IN OUR SELF, FILIPINOS!
(Following is an address delivered on 9th June 2 to Members of Filipino HACC (Health and Community Care Services) and other Guests in commemoration of the 117th Philippine Independence Day, held at Multicultural Aged Care, 94 Henley Beach Rd, Mile End, S.A.)
At the very first time the Philippine Flag was raised in Kawit, Cavite and the band played the national anthem Marcha Filipina, the Filipinos gathered as a nation, not for any other affiliation. They came from provinces in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regardless of language differences, gender and age, belief and social status in life. It was their day of emancipation, thanking God for leading the country to freedom after 350 years of Spanish rule. They set aside tribal differences, no regional barriers.
The Philippine Independence proclaimed in 1898 was short-lived. By 1899, the Americans came to replace the Spaniards. Americans colonized the Philippines for 45 years, interrupted by the Japanese for three and a half years. The Japanese invaded the country in 1941-1944. Theirs was also expansionist ambition similar to the Spaniards and the Americans to get more territories. When the Pacific War ended in 1945, the Americans regained control of the Philippines, but not for long. Through an Act of the United States Congress, independence was given back to the Philippines on July 4, 1946.
By political will, Diosdado Macapagal who became Philippine President in 1961, moved the day of Philippine Independence Day from July 4 to June 12, the original date of Proclamation of Independence in 1898. President Macapagal believed July 4 ay parang panunuya, a form of sarcasm, a sneer, isang paglibak sa karangalan ng Filipino. President Macapagal believed that July 4, America’s own Independence Day, was an irony as if it was a celebration of subjection and dependence on the United States that served to perpetuate colonial thinking and unpleasant memories of submission of Filipinos to foreigners. That action taken by President Macapagal was another lesson to think about in regard to Filipino self-respect and dignity, Filipinos that are free and independent na mayroon damdamin, puri at dangal!
Not long ago, the world saw the combined will of Filipinos expressed in People Power Revolution that ousted a homegrown dictator, President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies. Mrs. Corazon Aquino, a plain housewife, yet a determined woman with grit, guts and decency widowed by slain Filipino martyr, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., was sworn in President of the Republic of the Philippines. Democracy was restored in the Philippines. That, my friends, was another lesson to think about regarding dignity and self-respect of a Filipino.
Today, the Philippines is waging and gradually winning a new revolution. The enemies no longer come across the seas but from within. Poverty, corruption, and crime are a challenge to the Government and to citizens as well. Despite setbacks, the country seems gaining in its nation-building efforts.
The nation looks forward to reclaiming its place alongside Asia’s most dynamic economies. The improved national position has allowed the Philippines to play a greater role in the enlargement and strengthening of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in the ASIA-PACIFIC COOPERATION Group (APEC), and in the ASEAN Regional Forum through which the Philippines seeks to enhance regional understanding, consultation, cooperation, peace and prosperity. ©rdgjuantaJuly2015
To be continued