Jun 12, 2012

Independence Day: Celebrating 114 years of freedom?

Independence Day

Today, the Philippines, my ever beloved, celebrates its 114th Independence Day. But actually, I’d like to call it a commemoration of the Declaration of Independence, which reached its climax on June 12, 1898, when revolutionary leader and the country’s first president Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo hoisted the Philippine flag for the first time on the balcony of his mansion in Kawit, Cavite. However, neither the Spanish, nor the American government recognized this. Our independence was merely a “declaration,” in paper only, and not in reality.

In fact, on Dec. 10, 1898, by virtues of the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippines to America. The Philippines was never free until the United States granted the country’s independence on July 4, 1946. We observed our independence day every fourth of July until May 12, 1962, when Pres. Diosdado Macapagal issued Presidential Proclamation 28 declaring June 12 as a legal holiday in commemoration of the country’s declaration of independence. On Aug. 4, 1964, Congress ratified trough RA 4166 July 4 as Republic Day, while June 12 as Philippine Independence Day.

According to the late Education Secretary Alejandro Roces, this act was patterned with that of the US, who declared its independence July 4, 1776. However, it wasn’t really recognized as an independent nation by Britain until 1789.

But I don’t think the same could be said for our country. In my point of view, although the US declared in independence in 1776, it has never been under the rule of any country since then, so it could truly claim its independence.  But not for the part of the Philippines. We declared our independence in 1898, but we have been colonized many times over. We fell on the hands of Americans, then to the Japanese. So, there’s really no point of calling ourselves free when in fact we’ve been colonized twice over.

This is just my point. I love my country and I am proud of my nationality. It’s my own point of what should be than what it is. 

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