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Independence Day

on June 11, 2013

It is the eve of our Independence Day.   In our village, I see little paper flags decorating our street posts.  Other than that, there is no indication of any celebration for Independence Day.  With the little time I’ve spent watching TV, I have seen no announcements, no upcoming TV specials, and no advertisements; likewise on the radio.  Isn’t Independence Day important to us anymore?  Is it just another paid holiday for us?

I have never been good at history.  I never saw the importance of memorizing dates, names, places, and events.  But one thing I always remember is the story and its after effects.  300+ years of Spanish colony, 50+ years of American colony, and a 5-year Japanese occupation.  The last of the Japanese troops left in 1945.  After 68 years, are we truly free?  I think not.  We are still enslaved… by ourselves.

Yes, we have been ruled by foreigners for such a long time that we got used to being “enslaved”.  No wonder we are so good at the being in the service industry:  Nurses, caregivers, housekeepers, domestic helpers, drivers, the list goes on.  We are kind, polite, and content. There is nothing wrong with this but we are kind, polite, and content to a fault.  We teach our children to study well so that they can become employed in “good companies”.  We learn that being a good employee (i.e. subservient) could land us a promotion.  We happily slip into the rat race and use our credit cards to buy things to show off to our friends and relatives.  We retire with a lump sum, spend it on the things we could not buy before and end up penniless after 3 years.

The other route we take is to gain employment overseas.  Countries like the US, UK, Australia, Saudi, and UAE prefer us because of demeanor.  That’s really good news, right?  Especially with the remittances.  Our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) have been dubbed Bagong Bayani (new heroes) because of this.  But this comes with a price:  broken marriages, bitter and misguided children, and loss of family values.

But you know, we cannot put the entire blame on our past.  Truthfully, the Spaniards, the Americans, and the Japanese have contributed greatly on our progress as well.  It is our attitudes and beliefs that have put us where we are.  How come Filipinos who migrate to different countries are more law-abiding, bolder, communicate better, and have better control of their finances?

Let’s strive to be free.  Free from corruption, free from debt, and free from poverty.  Let’s start with ourselves. Our country is the most beautiful place on earth.  Let’s not waste our natural resources or our human resources.

(I love this song, “Bayan Ko,” (My Native Land).  I came across this rendition by Libera.  I was thinking of posting a Filipino rendition but when I watched this video, I was deeply moved by it.)

Video courtesy of virgemvoicez of youtube.

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