Aguilar: Happy Independence Day!

Against the current

AS WE commemorate our independence from Spanish colonizers more than a century ago, it would be nice to call to mind how we have been since then. Sure enough, we are neither the richest country there is, nor are we politically stable with all the circus we get to go through on a daily basis. But we have come quite far already as a sovereign nation in comparison with the rest of the world.

Our 1987 constitution is by far the greatest milestone we have had since colonization time. It provided a framework of our government characterized by people power. Yes, there have been continuous threats but all in all the integrity of the fundamental law of the land has remained intact, where no president from 1987 until now has ever challenged to overpower it, yet.

It is expected that people in power will attempt to circumvent our constitution to advance their interest and yes we may have arrived at a point already where it needs to be re-engineered again to be more responsive to our present needs; a strong indicator is the rising popularity and social acceptance of the concept of federalism. But still, the 1987 constitution has strongly cemented civilian supremacy over military, police, and even the government itself.

So yes, all elements would point that we are a free nation, and a happy free nation at that. The freedom we enjoy today is something worth celebrating and worth thanking for. It just proves that even in the midst of vested interests, our ancestors, ancient and immediate, have successfully established a just and humane society, or almost. It would be ungrateful therefore and a huge horror if we do not give due respect to those who toil to make our lives a little better than theirs. I mean what kind of people are we if we are like Mocha who in a heartbeat would discredit the significant contributions of Ninoy and Cory Aquino in the great story of a strong nation unfolding. How would most of us feel if after Duterte’s term someone in power would just outright dismiss the great contribution he has in redefining Philippine politics? My point being is that, we are who we are today because of the collective efforts of the Filipinos before us. Let us be grateful for that.

But being grateful does not mean putting a blind eye on the problems we have today. You see, while we have gone far already, we are quite far from our destination yet. And while we are already independent from external control, we have not yet quite achieve the freedom that we deserve. More than ever, we are called to be heroes again in our own little ways, because unlike before where we recognize our enemy at plain view, them being white and foreign looking, now we are actually still at a bondage without us knowing. Because when we say freedom, it should mean the freedom to not just eat but eat the kind of food we want, not just travel but travel to places we dream of. But until we only have “uga” and “tinabal” on our table, we are still not free. Until our concept of healthcare is limited to our paltera in the village, we are still not free. Until we till the land that is not under our name or live in a house owned by someone else, we are not yet free.

Yes, we have a reason to celebrate our independence; from being indios, we have become the proud Filipinos and have made quite a name in the world. But there is still more work to be done, this time the bucket is on us. This time, we can be part of history unfolding. And it starts with simply being vigilant against corrupt people, and not being corrupt ourselves. Next is being the best at what we do, no matter how simple our jobs are. Let us continue to hone our expertise and level up in this competitive world. Finally, let us take care of our country the way we take care of our homes; we don’t throw garbage in our living rooms do we? We don’t waste water in our faucets do we? We turn off our electrical switches when not in use don’t we? We have house rules we follow, and if we put exactly the same commitment we have at home to our country then perhaps traffic problems will just be a thing of the past, environmental degradation will become moot, crimes will just be a nightmare that exist only in dreams, and like in a house, no one gets really hungry because food is shared.

Happy Independence Day! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!


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