FOR some time now, our celebration of Independence Day hasn’t really been blanketed with the fervor usually reserved for major turning points in our nationhood. Instead, June 12 is welcomed more for being a regular non-working holiday and not for its being “Araw ng Kalayaan.”
At times, the focus of the discussion, if there are any, isn’t even on the establishment by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898 in Cavite of the First Philippine Republic to signify our breaking free from Spanish colonial rule.
Instead, the exchange is about the correctness of transferring the Independence Day celebration from July 4, the date when the United States “granted” us our “independence,” to June 12.
For this year, government went through the motions of recalling Aguinaldo’s proclamation of Philippine independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898. Flag-raising rituals were done by both the national government and local government units throughout the country. But if these commemorations were TV programs, these wouldn’t rate in surveys.
Yesterday's protest actions in some parts of the country by groups condemning the pork barrel scam would even rate higher. But the motivations of the participants of the scheduled rallies are diverse. One cannot say all of these are honest use of our acquired freedoms.
There is one threat, though. China’s bullying in the West Philippine Sea has made many Filipinos realize that acquiring independence is one thing and defending our territory is another.
But even then, not all have become patriots again. For some reasons (the fractious nature of the country’s politics among them), even Filipinos mock the inability of their own government to credibly advance its territorial claim.
But in seeking the help of the US, the Philippines’ former colonial ruler, in its conflict with China, the administration of President Noynoy Aquino seems bent on pulling out all the stops short of allowing the Americans to once more set up their military bases here.
On this, our 116th Independence Day celebration, spending time for self-reflection on our nationhood may be necessary.