Independence Day Ramblings
(Or all after reading Felizardo Pagsanhan's 'July 4 not June 12')
"July 4 is the true Independence Day, not June 12. This can be gleaned from the history book titled “Philippine History and Government, Through the Years,” authored by Francisco M. Zulueta, and Abriel M. Nebres. Let me cite this book as reference in this piece."
These are the words stated by Felizardo M. Pagsanhan in a writeup entitled "July 4, not June 12" in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last June 9, 2013. There he simply disagrees with the date, as he himself witnessed the inauguration of the Philippines’ independence on July 4, 1946. And using an history book as its reference, Mr. Pagsanhan simply deemed what then-President Macapagal's proclamation as "Invalid" as America had occupied the Philippines under the Treaty of Paris.
At first, it's quite nice that Mr. Pagsanhan, like any other wartime survivors and satisfiers during the "peacetime" period had to justify much how their "4th of July" should been celebrated instead of June 12 simply because of its invalidity made by the occupation in 1898, as he said:
"Aguinaldo and the revolutionaries failed to stop the ratification of the Treaty of Paris. The Philippines never achieved independence from Spain, and America owned the Philippines (pages 120 and 330). The Malolos Republic at Barasoain Church was also invalid, because it was established on Jan. 28, 1899, when the Philippines was under American occupation (page 123)."
Otherwise, he's speaking on behalf of post-war nostalgia being a spectator seeing then-President Roxas raising the Philippine flag after McNutt lowering the old glory at Independence Grandstand, Luneta. But come to think of this: All despite Independence there were US-controlled Bases in Clark, Subic, Sangley Point, and others in 1946 same as Party Rights that offered Americans same rights as Filipinos, even stunting further people's aspirations in having the Philippines well-developed just like those of Recto and his proposal for Industrialization. Therefore, what kind of "Independence" the Philippine had if there were meddlesome people trying to dominate political, cultural, and economic affairs of the state?
And despite the fact that Spain ceded the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the US for 20 Million US Dollars in 1898, Filipinos tend to defend the gains of their "revolution" erspecially that their new-found ally speaks about democracy and independence, humanity as evidenced by their constitution and way of life. Sadly, their ally had turned traitorous as evidenced by growing number of reinforcements, killing a Filipino who misunderstood English by a certain Greyson, followed by Ilustrados who, desperate for their survival chose to side with the occupiers. There were resistance of course as to defend or regain independence no despite being deemed "Invalid" as Mr. Pagsanhan said in a way Apolinario Mabini, Artemio Ricarte, and others chose to live in exile or advocate independence till their last breath in their deathbeds.
And as the United States of America had "owned the Philippines" and "given civilization" in terms of their modernity, the Filipino people, still imbued with patriotism had to carry on the spirit of freedom by any means including the barrel of the gun as evidenced by Macario Sakay and his ragtag band of long haired Insurrectos trying to resurrect the great idea of the Filipino state in accordance to Bonifacio and his Katipunan; other than using English to impress the colonizer and to counter any racial slander the Filipino's capability to adapt with the signs of the times, all in pursuit of struggle for eventual independence as a nation.
To sum it all, July 4 was all about given recognition the right for independence, June 12 speaks about the Filipinos right to struggle since Independence isn't been given or brought but fought and gain at any cost. Compared to the ceaseless lobbying and negotiations made by Quezon et al and the transition period that was given, the blood of martyrs and works of illustrado and proletryado-born heroes whose call for Independence came from aspirations for Land, Bread, and Justice against exorbitant taxes and corrupt practises from Madre Espana.
Moreover, June 12 carries the spirit as compared to July 4 which was a product of lobbying and negotiations made by the Ilustrados and its "independence missions", "Filipinization campaigns" and support after WW2 under a transition made under the provisions of Tydings McDuffie act. The spirit of 1898 rather involves blood, sweat, tears, honour and lives advancing the interest of the people such as independence, democracy and better living for most natives who lived on planting rice, sugarcane, working at docks and cigar factories yet repressed due to racial and class repression.
Personally, this writer considers July 4 as “Republic day” for the world had recognized the Philippines as a republic rather than declared independence by the United States in 1946 in a way India declared republic in 1950 despite given independence as a dominion since 1947. It’s all but strange that Mr. Pagsanhan didn’t notice that as his Philippines again regained its “independence” in 1946 with himself as a spectator during its parades the people behind remained close to the aspirations what was left in 1898 regardless of its invalidity by the treaties, occupation and repression, including those of Colonial mentality people nowadays blindly enjoy. Not also thinking that the 1835 constitution borrowed some ideas from the 1899 constitution, in turn made inspired by other constitutions including those of France and of the United States! So why insisting invalidity if those who insist independence in 1946 had recognized the value that was from 1896 and 1898?
Anyways, as according to Guillermo Gomez Rivera, in regards to those nostalgic about July 4, said:
“Philippine independence IS AN ILLUSION. Some want to return the July four date of Filipino independence because the June 12 date does not satisfy them. But as a Filipino I prefer the June 12 independence date. At least it is A FILIPINO ILLUSION. Moreover, to go back to July 4 would be a blatant copy-cat feat on the part of Filipinos. Why do we need to have the same independence date as the Americans who delayed our independence for almost half a century? In all the countries where there is a Philippine embassy or consulate, all the other diplomats will attend the US July 4 reception in the US embassy and ignore the Filipino reception on the same date. Those for July 4 as Philippine Independence date should first ask the US TO MAKE the Philippines a US STATE automatically making all Filipinos American citizens. But so long as Filipinos are not automatically converted first into American or US citizens, to ask for JULY 4 as the Filipino independence date is not only the most supine of stupidities born out of the despicable colonial mentality that afflicts many Filipinos, it is the grave mark of shameless ignorance about Filipino history.”
And through this quotation, this writer somehow would say that it is up to the people which of the two illusions of independence deemed better. Yes, as long as vested interests dominate, then that Independence, freedom, democracy they spoken of is all but an illusion vented to the people, that, like their promises, all but empty handed.
Anyways, why the ceaseless argue? In fact, neither June 12 nor July 4 smacks of independence in a way Mr. Rivera said "it is an Illuson." That despite waving national colours and singing the national anthem, wearing and trying to study Filipiniana are still exploiters who ought to exploit including those who speak sugar coated yet empty handed promises time and again vented such as last May 13. Also to think that Marcos's so-called "Oligarchs" continued to prevail so are shantytowns that remained still despite hidden in edifices of glass and steel, hence disenfranchisement and oppression, carrot and stick, iron fist behind the velvet glove.
But the good thing lies also in Rivera's statement that at least it is a Filipino illusion, and this time trying to realize as people had to combat the serious issues that remained deeply-rooted such as having a semifeudal-semicolonial society and same calls such as land, bread, justice and freedom.
Therefore, because of the same old issues left unnoticed by an apathetic system, the unfinished Revolution continues. And it’s up to the people to continue and relieve the spirit that is, liberative and revolutionary.
Thank you, and to quote what Suzanne Collins said in her work:
"May the odds be in your favor."