I am a Filipino, proud…yet, suffer, too

I am a Filipino, proud

…yet suffer, too

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

“Let us not lose hope…”

This I have to say first

For if I won’t, but instead

Put that line at the end

I will be stirring your anger

That I will just regret later.

 

When foreign people

Set foot on our sacred shore

Our ancestors welcomed them –

Not just with smile

But warm embrace

Showed them kindness

Showed them love –

The way of Filipinos

As the whole world know.

 

The Chinese brought pots and silk

Gave names to our islands and islets,

The Japanese brought their skill

And goods of steel,

Spain sent forth Christianity

Tainted with gracious civility,

The Americans brought more-

More than what we could muster

And  all of these-

Supposed to enrich our culture

But instead, defiled our identity

Stained much of it with sheer gravity!

 

I hear Filipinos speak English with a twang

But should not be, when they speak our language –

Filipino, the rich language of every Juan.

 

I see Filipinos enjoy foreign food, every bit of it

But should not be, when they push aside

Our own sinigang and pinakbet.

 

I hear Filipinos sing foreign songs so soulfully

It’s just nice, but not when they despise

Our own that should be sung with dignity.

 

Deep inside, I suffer as I see and hear them

I know that just like me, others out there

Are gritting their teeth but can’t do anything;

Proud as a Filipino, yes I am

But so many things are left undone –

Things that our heroes in the past have begun

They who put color

To the vivid pages of our history;

Things that should have been done

By our heroes of today

But who died just when a new light

Started to shine on our democracy.

 

Leaders, policy makers, lawmakers…

Are they…really?

They who warble promises

And steal the people’s money?

Paid with lofty sum from the coffer

Where money for those who suffer

Should have come

But only the few – these warblers

Enjoyed no end, they who are supposed

To be brimming with wisdom!

 

After the father, comes the wife

Then the daughter, and the son

Not contented, the cousins and in-laws

All in the family, to power they strut

With a taunt in their face that says:

“What are we in power for,

And you with money has none

Eat your heart out, here we come!”

 

Rain that used to bless the earth

Filipinos now desist

Especially those who live

Along the river banks of the cities

For with it comes the flood

A curse that only the Bible says

Shall wipe out sinners

From the face of the earth;

But why…the floods?

Simple: the money for saving projects

The conscienceless –

Unscrupulously pocketed!

 

Innocent lengths of asphalted roads

That for long defied the trash of nature

Helplessly wrecked by greedy contractors

So that low-grade fresh overlay can be spread

Later giving up to rain’s patters

And treading of cars, trucks, and all…

 

Even the precious school books are not spared

By purported educators blinded with greed

Seeing to it that new ones, yearly will be printed

Exam questions, at the end of every chapter

Are cleverly printed!

So then, closing school years would also see

These books so dear, become useless –

Thrown to the garbage, not to be used

By aspiring younger brood of the family.

 

I am pained by the sight

Of plates at restaurants

and food stations of the malls –

Half –finished food left with pride

By those who seem to say

“I am rich, I can squander money”

And who never thought

That out there in the dumps

Some brethrens try to salvage morsels –

Precious food that could be stuffed

Into their guts so they can live

Better than nothing, or they’re dead.

 

I said in the beginning of this:

Let us not lose hope…

But wish for the best

If we strive together

And do what is right

Then new life for us

Will be in sight!

Wrong Information from Textbooks that Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

Wrong Information from Textbooks

That Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

by Apolinario Villalobos

 

As I gain years in life that slowly push me towards the threshold of my destiny, I cannot help but think about the things that I was “force-fed” as a knowledge-hungry pupil in elementary and a trying student in high school and college. I am now beginning to think that they could be wrong, such as:

  • Reference by Spanish historians to early inhabitants of the archipelago as indolent and have no regard for the future….

 

The original lines of this contention were written by historians who were members of Spanish expeditions to the “spicery” in the East, referring to the archipelago that later became known as Philippines, as well as, Moluccas. These European historians did not give consideration to the fact that the early inhabitants of the islands during the time subsisted on roots (sweet potato, yam, etc.), domesticated vegetables and animals, and which were abundantly available all year round. There was no need to dry vegetables the way they were doing in Europe due to winter. It should be noted that the main reason why Europeans were dead-set on conquering the “spice islands” of the East, was their need for the sought-after spices to preserve their food. Fresh water and marine fishes were likewise readily available anytime of the year. Unfortunately, such impression stuck even up to the American regime.

 

  • The impression of Lapu-lapu as being the first “nationalistic Filipino” who fought foreign intruders….

 

Just like the rest of the early inhabitants of the archipelago, Lapu-lapu was also an “immigrant”. When the Spaniards came, there was no “united Philippines”, yet. Even what is now Manila was ruled by several chieftains. There was also no clear evidence, if Magellan died in the hands of Lapu-lapu, or that, Lapu-lapu was at the battle site which was in knee-deep of water, or just on the shore watching the scene and shouting instructions.

 

  • The Spaniards came to spread Christianity….

 

Although, there were friars on board the galleons, those calling the shots were the leaders of the expeditions, such as, breaking of twigs, throwing of rocks and other symbolic acts of conquest, and the making of declaration of conquest in the name of the King or Queen of Spain. In meeting with the chieftains of the islands, the leaders of the conquerors, made clear their intention of making the villages as vassals of Spain. Only when the chiefs conceded that “baptism” into the new faith was made. In other words, the cross was made as an excuse for the conquest.

 

  • Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago, “Philippines” in honor of the Spanish king, King Philip II….

 

During the time of the Villalobos expedition, the archipelago was known as the “Islas del Poniente (Sunset Islands). On February 2, 1543, his fleet reached the current town of Baganga, east of Mindanao and named it, “Caesaria Caroli” in honor of Emperor Charles V. They moved farther on and reached Sarangani Bay, named “Antonia” in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico. Finally, they reached Leyte which during the time was known as “Tendaya”, but which Villalobos named, “Felipina” in honor of the crown prince of Spain, future king who was destined to succeed Charles V. Clearly, the name that Villalobos gave did not refer to the whole archipelago but only to a particular island.

 

  • The reference to the Filipinos again as “lazy” during the actual Spanish occupation of the populated islands…

 

When the Spaniards occupied the populated islands of the archipelago, the inhabitants were taxed heavily based on their produce. The natives decided to “take it easy” in working on their land as a major slice of their harvest went to the Spaniards. Aside from the demanded big share from the natives’ harvests, they were also made to render forced labor to build churches. The massive churches in the towns of Luzon and Visayas are evidences of this cruelty.

 

Today, the topsy-turvy educational system of the Philippines is such that even the K-12 which is not an assurance of job after finishing the so-called “senior high school” has been implemented post-haste without the necessary preparations. The current errors in the workbooks have compounded the existing ones that are needed to be rectified. The many pages of textbooks that have been transformed into “workbooks” are never without errors, yet, erring publishers are not penalized….”how much” is the reason…I just don’t know.

 

 

 

The Philippines’ Early Commercial Intercourse with China

The Philippines’ Early Commercial Intercourse with China

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The early recorded commercial intercourse between the Philippines and China was dated 982 A.D. when a certain Sung-Shih (History of the Sung) mentioned about traders from Mo-yi or May-I, referring to the Philippines and sometimes the island of Mindoro, and who came to the southern coast of China. But even much earlier than the said date, according to a noted historian Berthold Laufer in his “Relations of Chinese to the Philippines”, and Austin Craig in his “A Thousand Years of Philippine History Before the Coming of the Spaniards”, among the goods from the Philippines were birds, pearls and tortoise shell, to which, another historian, Chao Ju-Kua added, yellow wax, cotton, medicinal betel nuts and “yu-la” cloth. Proof of the early trade relations between the two countries are the archaeological sites that date back to the T’ang dynasty, in Babuyan islands, coastal areas of Ilocos and Pangasinan, Manila, Bohol, Mindoro, Cebu, Jolo and Cagayan de Sulu, and Mindanao.

 

Accordingly, Chinese junks would leave the southern coast of China for the Philippines during the month of March and their travel would take about 15 to 20 days. The same junks would prepare for the return trip during the month of June. Trading was done with haste, usually three to four days at one convergence point along a safe coast, then, they would move to other traditionally appointed place, as some natives proved to be hostile.

 

The commercial intercourse brought about cultural enhancement on both trading parties. On the part of the Philippines, according to Filipino anthropologist, E. Arsenio Manuel, about 522 words in the vocabulary of Pilipino language are of Chinese origin. Among them are, bihon, miki, miswa, mami, kuchay, tokwa, kinchay,  lumpia, lome, kimto, goto, batsoy, tsa, liyempo, kamto, biko, bitsu, hopia, petsay/pechay, bakya, jusi, siyansi, ate, kuya, diko, ditse, sangko, siko, and siyaho.

 

As mentioned among the pages of “Ming History”, traders from Fukien of southern China flocked to Luzon to establish trading colonies, so that when the Spaniards came, they found well-entrenched Chinese communities along the Pasig River and the coastal areas of Pangasinan and Ilocos. While the Philippines was under the administration the Spaniards, there was a time when the Chinese were expelled. Upon realizing, however, the need for the business acumen of the Chinese, they were encouraged by the colonizers to return but made to dwell in settlements outside the Walled City or Intramuros, which was called “Parian”. That is how the Manila Chinatown, the oldest in the whole world came to be.

 

Historically, the Chinese were never interested in politically colonizing any of the islands of the archipelago, unlike the Spaniards who came to the Philippines purely for this purpose. It is for this reason that when the Hispanic administration of Manila took effect, there was no resistance from the Chinese community. If the dynasties of the mainland that saw the growth of trading with the archipelago had any intension of annexing it to their kingdom, they should have done it long before the Spaniards came. But Chinese traders came and went, instead of even a single Chinese soldier. It is for this reason that China can never site history to attest her rights over a major part of the South China Sea or Philippine Sea. Their trading ancestors could have named some islands and bodies of water in and around the archipelago but only for their convenient reference and nothing else.

 

 

 

Ang Pilipinas at mga Pilipino…isang pagtanaw sa nakaraan

ANG PILIPINAS AT MGA PILIPINO

…isang pagtanaw sa nakaraan

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Bago dumating ang mga Kastila, ang mga ninuno ng mga Pilipino ngayon, na noon ay nakatira sa mga kalat-kalat na mga isla ay may narating na kung ang pag-uusapan ay tungkol sa sibilisasyon. Sila ay nakikipagkalakalan na sa iba’t ibang lahi na dumadayo pa galing Japan, Tsina, Malaysia, Indonesia, Arabia, at India. May kaalaman na rin sila sa pagmimina dahil kabilang sa ginagamit nila sa pakikipagkalakalan ay ginto at iba’t ibang uri ng mga kagamitan na yari sa tanso.

 

Ang mga komunidad ay organisado na sa pamumuno ng “lakan” o “datu”. Nang dumating si Magellan, ang Cebu ay maituturing na isang pederasyon ng mga datu at ang kinilala nilang pinuno ay si Raha Humabon. Ang pumatay kay Magellan ay si Lapu-lapu na isa sa mga “mababang datu” o “lesser chieftain” na ang pinamumunuang komunidad ay nasa Mactan. Ang mga nasa Maynila ay pinamumunuan naman ng mga “lakan”, na ang madalas mabanggit ay si Lakan Dula.

 

Ang mga nasa norte o hilaga ay mga tribung pinamunuan ng mga “pinakamatapang” at “pinakamalakas” na ama ng tahanan. Ang mga miyembro ng tribu ay magkakamag-anak, kaya ang pinaka-pinuno ay itinuring na “ama” na rin ng lahat. May sinasamba na rin silang sariling Diyos nang panahong yon, na kung tawagin nila ay “anito”, subalit hindi matanggap ng mga Kastila, kaya ang turing sa kanila ay mga pagano. Para kasi sa mga Kastila, ang hindi “binyagan” sa loob ng simbahan ay pagano, pero nakaligtaan nilang karamihan ng seremonyas sa simbahang Katoliko at mga piyesta ay halaw sa mga tradisyong pagano!

 

Patunay ang hagdan-hagdang palayan o “rice terraces” sa hilaga, ng katalinuhan ng mga sinaunang Pilipino, na ngayon ay itinuturing na isa sa mga nakakamangha sa buong mundo. Sinasabi pa na kung pag-uugpungin ang mga hinagdang palayan, mapapalibutan nito ang buong daigdig. Sa Mindanao naman, bago dumating ang mga Kastila, ang mga sinaunang Pilipino doon ay nakakagawa na ng mga bagay na yari sa ginto, bakal,pilak,  at tanso, na ang isa sa mga pinagmamalaki ay ang “lantaka” o kanyon. Bukod pa diyan ay ang “kris” at mga instrumentiong pantugtog, tulad ng “agong” at “kulintang”.  Patunay ang mga nabanggit na nakakapagmina sila tulad ng mga taga-Visayas, na ginamit nila sa pakikipagkalakalan at pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan. Ang pangalang “Visayas” naman ay halaw sa “Shri-Vishaya Empire”.

 

Hindi pwedeng sabihin na dahil sa Kristiyanismo ay dapat may tinatanaw tayong utang na loob sa mga Kastila. Dapat unawain na ginamit ng mga Kastila ang pananampalataya o relihiyon upang masakop ang mga Pilipino na bandang huli ay kanilang nilamangan o in-exploit o sa madaling salita – niloko. Nagkaroon na ng pananampalataya sa Diyos ang karamihan ng mga Pilipino, lalo na sa Mindanao bago dumating ang mga Kastila dahil sa mga misyonaryong Muslim galing sa Arabia at mga kalapit-bansa.

 

Ang unang misyonaryong Muslim na nakarating sa Pilipinas ay si Mudum (Makdum) na dumaan muna sa Malaysia bago pumunta sa Jolo. Sinundan siya ni Raja Baginda na galing naman sa Sumatra, sumunod ay sina Abu Bakr (Abubakar) at Serif (Shariff) Kabungsuan. Mula sa Mindanao ay kumalat ang pananampalatayang Islam sa Visayas at Luzon kaya nang dumating si Legazpi ay nadatnan na niya ang ganitong relihiyon sa Maynila. Ang mga misyonaryong Muslim ay walang ginawang pananakop, bagkus ay hanggang sa pananampalataya lamang ng Diyos ang kanilang sinaklaw. Sa isang banda naman, upang makapaghikayat ang mga prayleng Kastila ng mga Pilipino ay nagdaos sila ng mga mala-paganong piyesta na kinulayan ng Kristiyanismo, upang ipakita na “masaya at makulay” ang relihiyong ito.

 

Kung hindi sinakop ng Espanya ang Pilipinas, malamang ay isa itong Muslim na bansa tulad ng Malaysia at Indonesia kung saan unang nagka-ugat ang pananampalatayang Islam. Wala namang masama kung ganito ang nangyari dahil parehong Diyos pa rin naman ang pinaniniwalaan yon nga lang ay iba ang katawagan dahil sa Islam ang tawag sa kanya ay “Allah”. Maski papaano ay aasenso pa rin ang mga Pilipino at malamang ang kultura ay talagang dalisay o puro, waling bahid ng kanluraning impluwensiya galing sa Espanya at Amerika.

 

Sa isang banda, kung hindi sa panloloko ng mga Bristish na sumakop sa Malaysia, hindi sana nagulo ang kontratang nagpapatunay na inupahan lamang nina Gustavus Baron de Overbeck at Alfred Dent ang Borneo mula sa Sultan ng Jolo na si Mohammed Jamalul Alam, batay sa pinirmahan nilang kasunduan noong January 28, 1878. Nang bitiwan ng Inglatera ang Malaysia, tila sinadyang hindi nag-iwan ng “bilin” na hindi kasama sa teritoryo nila ang Borneo, dahil pag-aari ito ng Sultan ng Jolo at inupahan lamang ng dalawang negosyanteng British na sina Overbeck at Dent. Patunay din dito ang taunang “upa” na hanggang ngayon ay tinatanggap ng mga naiwang tagapagmana ni Sultan Alam.

 

Nang binitiwan ng Espanya ang Pilipinas sa kamay ng Amerika, magkahalintulad na panloloko rin ang ginawa ng bagong mananakop sa mga Pilipino. Ang sinasabing “tulong” upang mahubog kuno ang katinuan ng mga Pilipino sa sinasabi nilang “demokrasya” ay may kaakibat palang makasariling layunin. Dahil diyan, lalo pang nagdusa ang Pilipinas dahil animo ay ginahasa nang walang puknat ang likas-yaman (natural resources) nito. Idagdag pa diyan ang pagturing sa mga Pilipino na “unggoy” dahil hindi raw sibilisado tulad ng mga Amerikano. Ang tawag na “unggoy” ay nakatala sa maraming aklat tungkol sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas. Pinakita ng mga Amerikano ang kanilang mala-barbaro na ugali noong panahong pilit nilang sinupil ang mga rebelyon. Noon nadanasan ng mga nag-aklas ang iba’t ibang uri ng makahayop na parusa, pati ang pag-masaker (massacre) o paglipol sa mga rebelde at inosenteng sibilyan nang walang habas, na ang hindi makakalimutan ay ang nangyari sa Samar at Jolo.

 

Sa panahon ngayon, di tulad ng Espanya na talagang nagrerespeto na sa Pilipinas bilang isang malayang bansa, ang Amerika ay tila hindi ito matanggap dahil ang turing nito sa Pilipinas hanggang ngayon ay parang isa pa ring “kolonya” o “colony”. Ang masakit pa, bumitaw man sila noon, humirit pa rin sa huling pagkakataon dahil ang unang Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas ay presidente ng Amerika na si Roosevelt ang nag-apruba noong March 23, 1935. Pinahapdi pa ang sakit sa pagsingit ng “parity rights” na nagsasaad ng pantay na karapatan ng mga Amerikano at Pilipino sa paggamit ng lahat na likas- yaman ng bansa, at mga bagay na may kinalaman sa pangangalakal ng Pilipinas!

 

Ngayon, ang Pilipinas sa pamumuno ni Rodrigo Duterte ay pilit nagbabago upang matanggal ang makapal na pagkakulapul ng korapsyon mula pa noong bago pa lang ito nagkaroon ng kalayaan mula sa Amerika, na pinasahol ng iba’t ibang krimen lalo na ang mga may kinalaman sa droga. Ang patunay na iniismol pa rin ng Amerika ang Pilipinas ay ang tahasan at walang pasubaling pagkastigo ni Obama kay Duterte na akala niya ay “empleyado niya sa opisina”. Sino ang hindi makakapagmura sa pambabastos na yan? Pwede naman niyang ipadaan sa embahada ng Amerika kung mayroon man siyang mga pagpuna, subalit hindi niya ginawa, dahil nga malinaw na wala siyang respeto sa Pilipinas, at gusto niyang ipakita sa mundo na “kayang-kaya” pa rin ito ng Amerika!

 

Ang isa palang “disadvantage” kung sakaling hindi nagkaroon ng “western influence” ang Pilipinas ay baka walang international beauty queen na Pilipina, dahil kung mapapansin, ang mga nananalong “Pilipina” sa international beauty pageants ay may pangalang banyaga at ang “karakas” o mukha ay halatang banyaga rin!

 

The Philippines During the American Regime

The Philippines During the American Regime

By Apolinario Villalobos

With the downfall of the short-lived First Philippine Republic under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the Americans took over to directly rule the archipelago using the governance known as “Insular System”, guided by what were contained in the report of the Schurman Commission in 1899.

Appointments to the public offices were made based on the result of civil service examination taken by aspirants, and not on the basis of family relationship and friendship. Taxes were paid by the “citizens” to the government and in return, they received benefits in many forms. Educational system was initially implemented through the “Thomasites”, the first group of American teachers who were also Protestant evangelists. (Much later, the group was supplanted by the “Peace Corp Volunteers”).

The traditional units of government were maintained, although, their heads were given different references. For the village or barrio, the former “cabeza de barangay” or “teniente del barrio” of the Spanish time, was replaced by the municipal councilor. The “gobernadorcillo” as head of the town was replaced by the “president”. And, on provincial level, the head retained the same title as “provincial governor”.

The Provincial Court was referred to as the Court of First Instance, headed by a Judge, and appointed by the American Governor General. The central or national government was called “Insular Government”, which initially was controlled by a Commission headed by the Governor General. In 1907, however, the Philippine Assembly was created to help the Commission in making laws. It was composed of Filipinos elected by the people. Nine years later, in 1916, the Legislature, composed of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives, was created and empowered with the formulation of laws. The members of the two houses were elected by the people.

The highest court of justice during the Spanish time, the “Audiencia”, became the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands, with Americans as majority of its justices, although, the Head was always a Filipino. All of the justices were appointed by the US President.

Personal rights which had been the focus of the Filipino demands during the Spanish regime, were finally, granted by President McKinley in 1900, and later, officially contained in two Acts of the US Congress. These were the Organic Act of July 1, 1902 and the Autonomous Act or Jones Law of August 29, 1916. The Bill of Rights for the Filipinos enacted by the US Congress was very similar to the principles contained in the Malolos Constitution adopted in 1898, under the First Republic, at the helm of which was Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

Unfortunately, what has been initially formulated as an ideal Philippine Constitution was stained by the Parity Rights, insisted on by the United States, giving equal rights to the Americans in the exploitation of natural resources and in all other opportunities in the whole country. The insertion was made during the Administration of President Manuel Roxas in 1947.

The Philippines: from Commonwealth to the Present

The Philippines: from Commonwealth

to the Present

By Apolinario Villalobos

From the Philippine Commonwealth that evolved into Republican form, despite the many years that transpired, until the current administration of Pnoy, the promises of presidential candidates did not change their course which is supposedly towards the uplift of Filipinos and the advancement of the country, but nothing happened of them. The graft and corruption in the government just got worse, much more with poverty.

The Commonwealth government under Quezon was cut short by the WWII. But during his time, the Americans already observed the culture-based administration of the government which was hinged on “gratitude”, “brotherhood”, and “kinship”. The Post-war era of independence saw the granting of independence to the country, transforming the Commonwealth to Republican under Osmeῆa. As the country was still reeling from the effects of the WWII, it was in total disarray. This situation bred profiteering on the part of the businessmen and graft on the part of the government officials, resulting to the much dissatisfaction and dismay of the masses.

The dissatisfaction of the Filipinos was perceived as an opportunity of enterprising and ambitious politicians for grabbing the power from Osmeῆa. As a last effort, Osmeῆa reorganized the government by signing an Executive Order in March 7, 1945, restoring the Executive departments. Unfortunately, Osmeῆa was perceived as lame by the then, Governor-General, MacArthur, who coerced him to convene Congress. Many were against the convening of Congress, then, as it might fall into the hands of the “collaborators” of the WWII, one of whom was Manuel Roxas who fortunately, despite his being a former “collaborator”, was favored by the support of MacArthur.

Among those that the newly-convened Congress approved was a three-year back pay to its members, which was equivalent to the three-year Japanese occupation of the country. It was a telling premonition of more self-serving Congressional actions to happen. The employees followed suit with their own demand for similar back pay covering the same period but was not granted due to unavailability of fund. The cunning Roxas perceived the dissatisfaction of the employees as an opportunity to back up his bid for presidency. He authored the Back Pay Law which was eventually passed in 1948. It gave three years back pay to all pre-war government employees in 1958, after a ten-year period during which the government would have already saved enough funds.

The country did not gain much from Roxas when he held the reins of the government. Graft and corruption still proliferated. But his prominence became more pronounced when the provision on Parity Rights of the Americans was inserted in the Philippine Constitution. Hours before he died, he again committed the loyalty of the Filipinos to the Americans. His true color as “collaborator”, first with the Japanese during WWII, and later, with the Americans, surfaced till the time he drew his last breath.

Quirino took over the presidency when Roxas died. He promised “government reorganization to achieve efficiency at all levels of the bureaucracy, immediate increased production to give employment to thousands of idle laborers, vigorous and honest enforcement of tax laws, the preservation of the national integrity, and continued friendly relations with the countries of the world”. The Hukbalahap movement just became active because of unresolved agrarian issues during Quirino’s administration, and due to the worsening corruption. He wisely gave an all-out support to his Secretary of National Defense, Ramon Magsaysay who was perceived as honest and with unquestionable ability to lead, who somehow mellowed the administration’s strong image of ineptness . The charisma of Magsaysay brought him nearer to the masses.

When Magsaysay became president with the help of the CIA, he unfortunately, went beyond the tolerable treatment of the masses. His pampering of the masses, made them over-dependent to the government, resulting to their idleness. He went to the extent of opening the gates of Malacaῆan to them, practically resulting to the presidential official residence’s transformation into a “park”.  During his term, he promised, the improvement of the land tenure system with land resettlements, easy-term credit for the peasants, intense community development founded on self-help. To support those promises, the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) in Palawan was established in 1955, as well as, the Farmers’ Cooperative and Marketing Association (FACOMA). It was also during this time that Visayans and those from the north, rushed to Mindanao to clear cogon-covered fields. To date, among the results of the resettlement effort were General Santos and Koronadal cities. General Santos City was formerly, “Dadiangas”, while Koronadal City was formerly, “Marbel”.

Magsaysay realizing his mistakes for pampering the common “tao”, was reported to have lost his temper several times, one of which was when he “exploded”, saying: “the people want me to do everything for them!”. His ten-point program was never realized when he met an accident while on board the presidential airplane in March 17, 1957 on the way back to Manila from a speaking engagement in Cebu. The ill-fated airplane was later found on Mt. Manunggal in Cebu. Vice-President Carlos P. Garcia took over the presidency with the demise of Magsaysay. It was alleged that Magsaysay did a corrupt act by posting newspapermen in important government offices, as well as, extended to them favors that not even government officials were lucky to have a share.

The presidential election in 1957 confirmed the presidency of Garcia, although, the said process was said to be the noisiest and most expensive in the country’s history until the time. It was during this time that the Catholic Church was dragged into the chaos, which however, proved that the votes of the Catholics were not reliably solid. Diosdado Macapagal who belonged to the opposition won as Vice-President.

During his term, Garcia promised: “to complete the Philippine economic independence through the adoption of the Filipino First Policy….; to establish Filipino dignity as a free people by dealing with foreign powers on terms of sovereign equality; to achieve a balanced economy by providing equal impetus to agriculture and industry; to promote social justice and the general welfare of the masses, and; to minimize and, if possible, to eradicate graft and corruption”. Just like his predecessors however, Garcia also failed, as the poor not only multiplied but continued to suffer from poverty, while the economy was at its worse.

The people’s disillusionment of how Garcia administered the government, steered Diosdado Macapagal towards victory when he made a bid for presidency. Graft and corruption were the focus of all issues against Garcia which Macapagal used to his advantage. When he won, Macapagal promised: “the immediate restoration of economic stability, alleviate the common man’s plight, and establish a dynamic basis for future growth.” He added to strengthen the deteriorating moral fiber of the people. Unfortunately, a few months after he was sworn in, his province mates indulged in extravagant celebrations, with him and his family at the center. Such flagrant show of opulence went on which slighted the Filipinos much. Macapagal will however, be remembered with his nationalistic decision to move the Philippine Independence Day from July 4 to June 12, and the Land Reform Code which unfortunately was not implemented effectively.

The nepotism, graft and corruption issues were used by Ferdinand Marcos against Macapagal when the former ran for president. The Filipinos, for having no choice and who had been clamoring for change, voted for him.

Among the presidents, it was Marcos who openly admitted that the country was in a dire crisis situation, and to arrest the further deterioration of the country, he promised: “self-sufficiency in the production of rice and the diversification of crops, implementation of the land reform program, and intensification of the community development program. During his time, the country experienced a phenomenal infra-structure boom, to support the drummed up tourism and industrialization efforts of the government. Not satisfied with the Constitution-mandated tenure, he declared Martial Law, to supposedly prevent the Communist take-over of the country. The drastic move was accepted for several years by the Filipinos, until the issue on the murder of Benigno Aquino erupted.

The People Power Revolution in 1987 toppled the dictatorship of Marcos and installed Cory Aquino as President. Issues that her administration faced were recovery of the people’s money, replenishment of the dried up budget, and corruption that was not totally swept out of the system. Her tenure did not accomplish much for the recovery of the country until she was taken over by Fidel Ramos during whose administration there was a spree of privatization and selling of government properties. As the Filipinos got tired of the same economic and political mishaps of presidents, they gave a chance to Joseph Estrada from the movie world, and who promised “heaven”, and something “new”…indeed, corruption with a “new” face, that just got worse. The recurring despair of the people brought Gloria Arroyo to power. Despair again made the Filipinos look for another leader, and this time they bit the bait dangled by the old-time crooks who used the “martyrdom” of Ninoy Aquino to push the presidency of Pnoy Aquino….

The rest is history, literally, because as stated in the pages of the Philippine history, the same problems are the issues today– graft, corruption, nepotism, poverty, colonial attachment to the United States, and weak leadership.

How the American Parity Rights Provision was inserted in the Philippine Constitution…and who opposed it

How the American Parity Rights

Provision was inserted in the Philippine Constitution

…and who opposed it

By Apolinario Villalobos

The Parity Rights of the Americans was inserted in the Philippine Constitution when Manuel Roxas became the first President of the Philippine Republic in 1946. The said provision gave equal rights to the Americans in the exploitation of the country’s natural resources as well as other business undertakings. In explaining to the Filipinos at Plaza Miranda on March 11, 1947, he said:

“We have today our one big chance to convert our native land into an ideal of democracy. Our one chance is to grow and industrialize to reach the first rank of the nations of the world. We have this chance because of the heroism we displayed in the war, we have this chance because we have demonstrated by deed our love for freedom. We have earned the gratitude of mankind. We can and will show tomorrow that we deserve that gratitude by plunging courageously ahead in the great tasks we face.”

Because of that provision in the Philippine Constitution, the first President of the Republic of the Philippines practically, bound the Filipinos AGAIN to emancipation, this time to Americans.

History teachers never enlightened their students as to who opposed the “emancipation” as only few lines about it were devoted to these “true stalwarts” of Philippine democracy. Among these were Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel who never budged from their commitment to defend the Philippine Constitution. They were joined by Luis Taruc and other elected congressmen who belonged to the Democratic Alliance, whose members were non-collaborators during the WWII, intellectuals and peasants.

The Democratic group posed as hindrance to the passage of the Parity Rights Law which shall alter the Philippine Constitution. With their number, the administration of Roxas feared that the needed three-fourths vote will not be achieved. With the prompting of President Roxas, Congress passed a resolution unseating Taruc and the other members of the Democratic Alliance. The move was based on their alleged electoral frauds and terrorism “committed by Hukbalahaps in Central Luzon which resulted in the election of the six candidates of the Democratic Alliance and one Nacionalista. With them out, the Parity Rights Law was successfully integrated in the Constitution.

The years that followed saw the Filipinos sinking deeper in the muck of poverty, contrary to what Roxas dreamed of prosperity for the whole nation. He was a “dreamy” President whose oratorical promises remained promises until his death.

Today, there is another Roxas who delivers the same kind of promises…although, this time, he “dreams” about the promises of the “tuwid na daan” (straight path) of his mentor, President Pnoy Aquino, son of the former Senator Ninoy Aquino. History, indeed, repeats itself!

Isang Pagbabalik-tanaw

Isang Pagbabalik-tanaw

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Upang maiwasan ang sobra-sobrang paninisi sa bagong administrasyon, maganda rin sigurong rebyuhin ang mga nakaraan upang maunawaan kung paanong nagkaugat ang korapsyon sa ating bansa. Gawin ang pagbalik- tanaw, kahi’t pahapyaw man lang.

 

Bago dumating ang mga Kastila, may mga original nang Pilipino, na talagang purong dugong Pilipino ang naninirahan sa mga isla ng Pilipinas, kanya-kanya nga lang sila ng teritoryo. Hindi nagkakaisa sa ilaim ng iisang lider, subali’t maganda ang samahan. Nang dumating ang mga Kastila, nakapagdiwang ng Misa sa isang isla na ngayon ay pinagtatalunan pa kung yong Limasawa ba ng Leyte o Masao sa Butuan. May nag-alburutong isang datu, si Lapu-lapu ng Mactan, kaya naputol ang misyon ni Magellan. Nang dumating si Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, naipangalan sa hari ng Espanya ang mga isla – unang pangangamkam.

 

Naging Kristiyano ang ilang mga Pilipino dahil naguyo sila ng mga misyonaryo. May mga Pilipinang inanakan ng mga prayle – unang pangbabastardo. Itinayo ang Intramuros upang maihiwalay sa mga tsino at mga katutubo na naninirahan sa tabi ng Ilog-Pasig ang mga Kastila – unang deskriminasyon.

 

Nang magkaroon ng kumpul-kumpol ng mga “rebelde” sa pangunguna ng Katipunan na itinatag ni Andres Bonifacio, nabahala ang mga Kastila kaya sinupil lahat ng mga inaakala nila ay pag-aaklas laban sa kanila. Pinabaril ng mga Kastila si Jose Rizal sa Bagumbayan (Luneta) sa kanyang mga kababayang mga sundalo – unang kabayanihan.

 

Namatay si Bonifacio sa Mt. Buntis dahil sa pulitika, lumutang si Emilio Aguinaldo na ipinagpatuloy ang pakipaglaban sa mga Kastila. Napapayag siyang ma-exile sa Hongkong. Nagkaroon ng kasunduan ang Espanya at mga Amerikano na nagdaos pa ng moro-morong “digmaan”, yon pala ay binenta na ng Espanya ang Pilipinas sa Amerika – unang pagtraidor sa tiwalang ibinigay ng Pilipino sa Amerika na akala ni Aguinaldo ay tutulong sa upang labanan ang mga Kastila.

 

Nagkaroon ng ikalawang digmaang pandaigdig, iniwan ng mga Amerikano ang mga Pilipino sa kamay ng mga Hapon. May pangakong “I shall return…” kaya’t hinayaan munang magahasa ng mga Hapon ang karangalan ng Pilipinas, lalo na ng mga Pilipina, na naging comfort women ng mga Hapong sundalo. Nakabalik nga si MacArthur, subali’t hindi pa rin lubusang pinaubaya sa mga Pilipino ang pag-enjoy sa tinatawag na demokrasya, kaya tawag sa mga Amerikano ay “big American brother”, at ang tawag sa Pilipino ay “little brown brother” – pangalawang deskriminasyon.

 

Kinopya ng Pilipinas ang saligang batas ng Amerika, nagkaroon ng mga eleksiyon na nagluklok ng mga presidente. Lumitaw na hindi pa handa ang mga Pilipino sa tinatawag na demokrasya, maraming dispalenghadong programa. Ang tinaguriang “mambo President”, si Magsaysay, namatay sa pagbagsak ng eroplanong sinakyan niya. Ang sabi ng iba, sinadya daw na pabagsakin ang eroplano – unang manipestasyon ng “dirty politics” sa bansa.

 

Nagsunuran ang ibang eleksiyon, may mga kwento ng mga kandidato na ginagawan ng kaso ng mga nakaupo sa administrasyon, upang makulong dahil kalaban sa pulitika. Ang isang kwento ay tungkol sa isang nagrebyu para sa pagsusulit ng abogasya sa loob ng kulungan. Nakapasa naman, topnotcher pa! Pinaglaban niya ang kaso niya sa korte, nanalo siya, absuwelto. Tumakbong senador, umiral ang emosyong Pilipino na mahilig sa madramang nobela, nanalo siya. Dahil matalino daw, nanalo ding presidente ng bansa. Siya si Ferdinand Marcos. Nang nakita daw niyang hindi na kaya ng demokrasya ang pagkontrol sa mga katiwalian, gumamit siya ng kamay na bakal… nagdeklara ng Martial Law – kung ilang dekadang umiral. May mga napansin nang gulangan, nakawan, korapsyon wika nga sa ilalim ng kanyang pamumuno. Subali’t under control daw. Maraming proyekto ang mga naipatayo, tulad ng Cultural Center Complex, mga pagamutan para sa mga maysakit sa bato at puso, LRT, Coastal Road, at marami pang iba. Marami ring pumaligid sa pamilya… mga taga-bulong daw, lalo na sa First Lady.

 

Pinababa si Marcos dahil pinapatay daw niya si Ninoy Aquino. Umiral na naman ang emosyon ng Pilipino. Pinalitan siya ng biyuda ni Ninoy, na iniluklok daw ng People Power na pinakialaman din ng isang Obispo, ang namayapang Jaime Sin na nanawagan ng mga tao upang suportahan ang biyuda. Maraming dumating, nagpiknik sa EDSA, nagpista sa pagbenta ang mga sidewalk vendors dahil maraming dumating na walang pagkaing dala. Nang maupo na si Gng. Cory, marami ang natuwa dahil ang akala nila ay mawawala na ang korapsyon pati ang mga taong mahilig umaligid-ligid at tumambay sa Malakanyang. Napansin ng ilang militante sa Armed Forces ng bansa na wala namang nangyaring maganda kaya nagkaroon ng maliitang kudeta. Domoble ang napansing dami ng korapsyon, dahil nasilip ang kahinaan ng pamunuan na umasa sa mga dati nang nasa poder at sanay sa paggawa ng kamalasaduhan. Walang mga konkretong proyekto para sa bansa.

 

Nagkaroon ng bagong presidente, si Fidel Ramos. Sa ilalim ng kanyang administrasyon, kaliwa’t kanan ang bentahan ng mga properties ng gobyerno, kasama na ang mga ahensiyang nagpapatakbo ng mga pangunahing serbisyo tulad ng kuryente at tubig, napasakamay ng mga pribadong kumpanya na may mga kasamang banyaga sa korporasyon. Mabuti na lang at hindi natuloy ang para sa Manila Hotel. Kasama sa plano ang mga ospital at base military sa pagitan ng Makati, Pateros, at Pasig (may Global City na doon ngayon). Kasama itong mga bentahan sa hangarin ng bagong pamunuan na makasabay sa trend ng globalization na sinalihan ng Pilipinas, na bandang huli ay napansing hindi rin nakabuti, sa halip ay lalo lang nagpadami ng mga nagugutom dahil sa pagsirit ng mga presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin. Na-deregulate ang pagkontrol sa langis na siyang pinakamalaking indulto. Nagkaroon ng “open skies” kaya nagdagsaan ang mga international airlines sa bansa, tumiklop ang Philippine Airlines, hindi nakaya ang kumpetisyon. Wala ring nagawang mga konkretong proyekto para sa bansa, ang mga korapsyon lalong namayagpag daw, komisyunang kaliwa’t kanan sa pagbenta ng mga propredad ng bansa – unang pagkanulo sa soberinya pang-ekonomiya ng Pilipinas.

 

Nagkaroon ng artistang presidente, si Joseph Estrada, bise- presidente ang ekonomista daw na si Gloria Arroyo, propesora pa. Maraming artista ang nahirang na tumulong sa kanya kasama na yong nagpa-popular ng kasabihang, “weather- weather lang, yan….”. Hindi natapos ang termino ni Joseph Estrada dahil sa kaliwa’t kanang napansin daw na bulilyaso…na-impeach. Nadamay sa mga kontrobersiya ang may ginintuang boses na si Nora Aunor – unang patunay na nakakahila ang pagiging tanyag.

 

Pumalit si Gloria na nagsabi agad na hindi tatakbong presidente, subali’t bago matapos ang minanang trabaho mula sa na-impeach na si Joseph Estrada, may divine intervention daw na tumulong sa kanya upang magdesisyon siyang tumakbo na lang. Tumakbo nga at sinubukan ng mga tao, parang okey naman, subali’t sa umpisa lang pala. Unti-unting nabisto ang mga palihim daw na mga transaksyon, dawit pa ang asawa. Nang mawala sa puwesto, nagsingawan ang mga baho, umalingasaw, matindi.

 

Nang maupo ang isa na namang Aquino, si Noynoy Aquino, nangakong makikinig daw sa mga utos ng mga tao. At ang mga Pilipino ay aakayin niya sa matuwid na daan. Lumampas lang ng kaunti sa kalahati ng kanyang termino, naglitawan ang mga kasong kahindik-hindik! Animo sinakluban ng langit ang sambayanan…na feeling ay parang inagawan ng pagkain. Nakawin ba naman ng mga taong pinagkatiwalaan nila ang pera ng bayan…mga taong ibinoto dahil matatalino daw. Yon pala, ginamit ang katalinuhan upang mapaikutan ang mga batas! Kasama daw diyan yong mga itinalaga mismo ng pangulo sa mga puwesto! Ito na ang pinakamatinding pagkanulo ng gobyerno sa tiwala ng taong-bayan!

 

Hindi marinig ng pangulo ang mga utos ng taong bayan… natatalo ng lakas ng mga bulong ng mga nakapaligid sa kanya, mga miyembro daw ng Student Council, ng mga dating classmate, ng mga kabarilan sa shooting range, at ng kung anu-ano pang bintang ng media. Hindi rin niya maakay ang sambayan tungo sa tuwid na daan dahil wala pang na-construct na maski kapirasong distansiyang ganitong matinong highway o kalsada man lang. Ang mga nagawa kasing yari sa aspalto, ilang ulan lang, animo ay binagsakan ng pira-pirasong bomba, kaya uka-uka. Ang mga yari sa semento, dahil sa kanipisan, ilang buwan lang animo ay binarikos sa dami ng mga crack na sanga-sanga.

 

Nagsimula sa isang maliit na korapsyon, lumala nang lumala. Yan ang kuwento ng Pilipinas…ng animo ay ginahasa na ating Inang Bansa!…isang malungkot na pagbabalik-tanaw, na mas malungkot pa sa isang Korean nobela, na kinahihiligan ng mga Pilipino, na ang iba ay nagtataas ng mga nakatikom na kamay sa harap ng TV camera at sumisigaw na inosente ang mahal nilang……alam nyo na! Hindi daw nagnakaw…inosente, hangga’t hindi napatunayan! …walang nakakita, lalo na yong babaeng may piring nga naman sa mga mata! Sige na nga!

 

 

(Pasensiya na sa kahabaan ng diskurso…nadala lang ng kanyang damdamin ang nagsulat, nagka-stiff neck nga sa kalilingon sa mga nakaraan. Lalong pasensiya, sa mga gumagamit ng smartphone sa pagbasa na hindi sana nag-overheat. Nag-take chance lang ang sumulat dahil libre ang mag-post.)