Independence in Fetters

Patnubay de Guia
National Democratic Front—Southern Tagalog Region
June 14, 2012

What are ways to celebrate the 144th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence? Students observe it every year by making miniature flags and parading through the streets. Government and private offices are hung with flags. The Government of the Philippines (GPH) prepares grandiose rites with sentimental speeches and the usual hold-on-things-shall-get-better promises in it. Ordinary people watch and wonder and ask what has ‘independence’ got to do with bringing about changes into their lives? On what day of the year, if there is any, do they simply feel free?

Albeit we do not forget the thousands of Filipinos who sacrificed their lives during the Philippine Revolution, the national independence proclaimed on June 12, 1898 was short-lived as the US aggressors soon stepped-in and replaced the vanquished Spanish colonialists.  A nation is not free and independent when its political, economic and cultural affairs are being influenced and dictated by an imperialist nation, which is the United States (U.S.).  A glaring example is how it conducts interventionism in the Philippines regarding the South China Sea dispute, which it capitalizes and magnifies to justify its intervention and broaden its control in the Asia-Pacific Region. It engages the Philippines in joint-military exercises that further provoke the tension between our country and China that can otherwise be resolved through diplomatic negotiations.

In the light of Aquino’s persisting subservience to the US and allowing it to trample on our national sovereignty, celebrating independence is sheer hypocrisy.

As a reactionary government that cannot appreciate the day-to-day struggle of the people, e.g., the weary face of a mother beside her hungry children; the far-away look in the eyes of overseas Filipino workers that contribute in keeping the country’s economy afloat deported and stricken with mental and physical disabilities; the drops of perspiration from the farmers’ foreheads calling for land distribution; it can at least recognize that the pressing social problems equates concrete solutions. Alas, it doesn’t. Whereas the GPH boasts of magnificent events in progress, in stark contrast are the millions kept in chains of ignorance, poverty and injustice. Millions are hungry and homeless, jobless, landless.

What are ways to celebrate Philippine Independence? The people can ask back: What is the question? For how free has every Juan been when freedom is a word firmly existing in a world only the ruling classes enjoy and know of? Building the country’s own capital for industrialization, building a strong industrial base and implementing a thorough land reform are among the real crucibles in which national independence is achieved. What the majority of the people have now is not freedom as the U.S. imperialist and the GPH falsely project but independence in fetters.

We do not celebrate but rage against that false independence in a form of mass actions and protests. We stay with the multitudes of our people who in their everyday lives are living in destitution. Regardless of how the U.S. imperialist and the GPH employs reactionary armed forces to frustrate our concerted efforts to be genuinely independent and free, we struggle and we suffer with and for the people. This moves us forward in the path of national democracy and beyond.

Long live the martyrs of the revolution!
Carry on with revolutionary struggle towards national sovereignty and genuine independence!