WHETHER or not we gained independence on June 12 or July 4 does not really matter. For the fact is we have yet to gain independence; the country from de facto control by other powerful nations or international political bodies; the vast majority of the Filipino people from business, political and cultural (religious?) masters of their lives.
Poor people in any country are not free to live with dignity as human beings. They are only free to choose which employer or political patron to cling to for their physical survival. They only have the choice of surrendering their dignity (independence?) to business and political masters or of living and dying indigent, ignorant and obscure.
This is also true for poor countries. The Philippines, for instance, does not have the freedom to be sovereign. We only have the freedom to be beholden to, dependent on, the US or Russia or China. We don’t have the military strength to stand up to these powerful countries that control us in varying openly or subtly intimidating ways.
That’s why I like that we are standing up to the US and the UN and befriending Russia and China. We cannot afford to be an enemy of any powerful nation, so we might as well be a friend to all. All of the former have imperialist ambitions. We have to avoid being caught in a squeeze play in their deadly game of winner-take-all world domination. But we have to accept the sad reality that if we do get squeezed by these military giants, there’s really not much anybody can do about it.
Independence Day, therefore, is better spent reflecting and doing something about our lack of independence vis-à-vis our local masters. What is the use of quarrelling among ourselves whether we should befriend China or not, when locally we are all at the mercy of a few powerful people or groups of people no matter how the China issue is resolved?
International relations are only relevant to occupants of the second floor of house Philippines. It really doesn’t matter if China or the US or Russia or all of them are our friends because the benefits of that friendship will still accrue exclusively to the rich and powerful few who control the destiny of this country while the Filipino people remain un-independent and at their mercy.
What matters is our independence from political and business dynasties that systematically marginalize the majority of us. Why quarrel among ourselves about China or the US when we should be shouting and acting as one against those who deprive most of us of our independence from ignorance and poverty.
Philippine independence is a pleasant dream but a dream nevertheless; tomorrow most of us will still be living the nightmare that life really is in this country.