We celebrate today, June 12, 2018, the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence. Here is some 1-2-0 significance:
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1 – We regard June 12 as the first official proclamation of Philippine independence done in Kawit, Cavite. The proclamation was done through the Aguinaldo mansion’s window; not in the popularly depicted balcony which came as a later addition. The hand-crafted Philippine flag by Marcela Agoncillo and her daughters was unfurled to the sound of the “Lupang Hinirang” (Orig. Patria Adorada), the Philippine national anthem by composer Julian Felipe and lyricist Jose Palma.
2 – We had two “independence dates” in the past. The “traditional independence day” is July 04, the day the Americans supposedly “granted” the Philippines her independence after World War 2. But in 1964, then President Diosdado Macapagal moved the official celebration of Philippine Independence Day to June 12 in recognition of the 1898 Independence Proclamation in Kawit.
0 – These days, most Filipinos have little to zero sense of historical consciousness and continuity of what it means to uphold the national community and national sovereignty. Historical amnesia and historical revisionism have become prevalent. The meaning of freedom has been challenged and remade to suit the needs of those in power.
To some extent, Jose Rizal was right to lament, “What is the use of freedom if the slaves of today become the tyrants of tomorrow.”
Our national sovereignty is threatened by foreign powers, our foreign policy and economy are beholden to foreign power and capital, our politics dominated by oligarchies and dynasties. What then is the use of independence when our people suffer from lack of liberty, equality, and sustainable economy?