Wednesday, June 25, 2008

People of the Philippines

The Spaniards came and left, they hurt, emptied or killed hundreds if not thousands of Filipinos. They conquered the country but not the people who eventually drove them away. The Japanese came and left. They killed men, violated women, put children to the bayonet. They kept Filipinos poor and hungry. But the Filipinos held on and eventually drove them away. The American came, liberating the country but dominating the people. The Filipinos ultimately had enough and ask them to go. They left. Then came a local dictator who had thousands imprisoned, banished or made to disappear. The people held on, stood up and finally drove him away.

The Philippines is a beautiful country and rich in natural resources. But the Filipinos as a whole have never been really rich. Most of them have enough to live by but are not really affluent. Up to these modern times with great scientific discoveries and marvelous technological advances, the Philippines remains a Third World Country and the Filipinos by and large manage to be contented with the relatively little they have to live by. They still manage to celebrate their birthdays, sing their songs, hold their Fiestas.

The lesson is rather plain and clear, viz., the Filipinos are a resilient and sturdy people. They do with little they have but also enjoy when there happens to be much more to spend. By and large, they wear simple clothes and eat humble food. They are both respectful in bearing but proud in spirit. Their culture is unique and their tradition is rich. But when challenged, they also know how to stand their ground, how to claim their rights, how to vanquish their enemies. Philippine History is the best witnesses to this inherent Filipino courage. Otherwise, how does one explain the plight of the Spaniards, of the Japanese, of the Americans, of the Dictatorship?

Again, under the ruling administration, the People of the Philippines are being tested, challenged and called to show their real selves and prove their honest worth. Hundreds of them were subject to extrajudicial killings and made victims of forced disappearances. Thousands of them have their basic human rights grossly violated. Millions of them are impoverished and demeaned in dignity and legitimate pride. All of them are victims of repeated lying, official cheating and customary stealing by infamous characters precisely meant to render them public service—not public oppression and exploitation. All of them are also shamelessly defrauded of the heavy directed and indirect taxes they pay from birth to death.

Again—with feeling: When already fed up with the errant and erratic antics of those pretending to lead them but actually making fools of them, the Filipinos are the ones who instead drive or throw these away in their chosen time. When already suffocated with the shenanigans and deviltry of their callous and amoral public officials, the people eventually vanish them and bid them good riddance. Lesson: The People of the Philippines are good and kind, also happy and friendly, even humble and patient. But when made to face the wall, they turn around and fight back—to win. This is empirical truth. This is historical fact.

25 June 2008