ON SATURDAY, the fourth of July, the United States of America celebrates her Independence Day. It is the day when her leaders declared independence from the world’s colonial power in England.
It used to be celebrated by us Filipinos after the USA granted our independence on July 4, 1946, after the end of World War II. That date was changed by then-President Diosdado Macapagal during his term in the early 1960s to June 12, 1898.
President Macapagal’s act recognized the date declared by Revolutionary President Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 when in Kawit, Cavite, he raised the Philippine Flag towards the end of the losing war with Spain. Lengthy debates among historians, recognized or otherwise, ensued but in the end, Filipinos succumbed to the wisdom of their president.
July 4th is now celebrated as Fil-Am Friendship Day.
The date of independence from colonial powers does not matter any longer when we now have and can live a democratic way of life and enjoying the same.
A month ago, an Independence Day dinner was scheduled by a friend but had to be postponed later due to protocols adopted to protect ourselves from the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, he called to express how lucky the Philippines is for having been under American tutelage on freedom and democracy.
Since we have more or less adopted the western culture of democracy, we talked about the influence of America on Filipinos. Foremost the wish of a good percentage of Filipinos to immigrate or to secure a travel visa to the United States.
The USA still tops other trading nations as an importer of Philippine goods and products that supports a solid economic foundation to the country.
He mentioned that with the interest of China investing heavily in infrastructure programs in the Philippines, perhaps a look into their degree of influence would be stirring.
History will educate us that the Chinese in yester-centuries reached our shores as traders, doing business with our ancestors. A number of strugglers among them chose to remain and inter-married with our charming brown women bearing offsprings of lighter-skinned complexion and chinky eyes. Antique China jars in the possession of Pilipino households are also testaments of trading relations.
Americans in the civil and military service, businessmen and tourists, too, had an interest in tainting the skin tone of Pinoys during their more than 50 years of commonwealth domination and after.
Yet there is no accurate percentage of neither American nor Chinese descendants. But research years back estimated 25 percent as an accurate guess of Chinese blood running in Pilipino veins. Yet, we like it or not, there are more Filipino-Chinese mestizos over other nations. They are Tsinoys.
Who are they?
From SubChina in Google, it says: “the Chinese-Filipinos of the Philippines have historically persisted through waves of discrimination. While the country takes pride in its multiculturalism, recent anger directed at China has inflicted what experts term as ‘collateral damage’ upon Tsinoys.”
The same source added that: “Tsinoys are known for holding prominent roles in politics and business, establishing schools and charitable foundations, and populating the world’s oldest Chinatown, Binondo, since its founding in 1594”.
My friend and I agreed there is “distrust in China” especially at a time of the controversial ownership of certain islands in the Spratleys, claimed by us and Chinese intrusions into Philippines waters.
Social media exposes the fear of Filipinos of China and her policies towards the country and despises certain human behavior anathema to accepted norms of good conduct and ethics.
Be that as it may, recent events reveal that President Duterte has changed his mind and would allow RP-US military exercises to continue. This is a decision of assurance that Fil-Am relations remain healthy and solid. This brings forth a sigh of relief for the safety of Philippine sovereignty.
Current sentiments showing in social media tend to divide the nation whether to side with China or America.
Consequently, however, in time our countrymen will choose which path to take. As a passage in the fable “Alice in Wonderland” says: “If you do not know where you are going, you will never know where you are going.”