Religion, Christian Faith, and Immorality

Religion, Christian Faith, and Immorality

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

I am wondering whether those who profess religiosity based on what they practice really “understand” what they are doing. They claim that the bible contributes a lot to their spiritual development. The problem with these people though, is that, while some stick to just the New Testament, others devote their time more to the Old Testament, when the two sections of the bible are supposed to complement each other. So what happens is that, while some of them learn about the teachings of Jesus which are in the New Testament, they do not have a slight idea that the religion that they follow can be traced back to Abraham who is in the Old Testament, and whom they hear only as a name when mentioned in sermons. The ignorance came to light when I asked one Catholic Lay Minister if he has an idea on who the eldest son of Abraham is. I found out that all he knew was that Abraham has a son and that, he was Isaac. When I told him that Ishmael was his eldest son bore to him by Hagar, the handmaid of Sarah, he was surprised! He even asked, how can it be possible when the name Ishmael is a Muslim?

 

From the desert, the Abrahamaic faith, also called Mosaic faith that also hinges on the belief on the coming of a “redeemer” spread. When Jesus came, he followed a new path along which he spread his teachings that filled the pages of the New Testament. When he died on the cross, his followers insisted that he was the sacrificial lamb for the sins of mankind – the redeemer who have finally come and did the act of redemption. But many refused to accept this, as they even keep on questioning his identity if he, indeed, belongs to the House of David from where, the redeemer should come from, more so with the allegation of his being the son of God.

 

If Jesus was the result of a “virgin birth” that gives credence to the “annunciation” as one of the “mysteries”, then, he does not belong to the House of David, because Mary, herself, as his biological mother does not, but only Joseph, who is his “foster father”, therefore, not his “biological father”. In other words, he is not the prophesied “redeemer” as insisted by his followers. Such question is one of the so many asked since the medieval period when the pagan Romans were converted into Christianity, and overdid their religiosity by incorporating pagan practices into what was supposed to be a simplistic way of spirituality. Instead of giving enlightenment on the issue, the early church leaders added problems, one of which is the question on “Trinity” that even widened the “schism”. Is it not immoral to keep the truth from the people who thought they are following the right path?

 

The “extensions” of the Church of Rome distributed throughout Europe as the 15th century was ending, was purported to be the largest “landholders” during the time. That was also the time when Christianity was forced into the inhabitants of the islands that came to be known as Philippines, so named by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, in honor of the Spanish king, Philip II. But before the Spaniards came to the shores of the archipelagic islands, they had already sacked the long- thriving Inca and other highly developed cities that they converted into their colonies, and they called the natives “Indios”. For the Spaniards, the natives that they suppressed and made to kneel in front of the cross are called “Indios” who, for them are ignorant… this is how the natives of the Philippines and America were first called, and not by their real indigenous names.

 

The Spanish Christian missionaries who were also fond of shouting “punyeta”, “sin verguenza”, and “hijo de puta” to the natives, did the same hideous conduct of conversion they used in South America, when they came to the Philippines, as they went into the frenzy of burning cultural and intellectual treasures, because for them those were “demonic” and did not conform with “Christianity” which for them still, was the “righteous way”. They even went to the extent of executing “babaylans” or native priestesses.

 

During the closing of the 15th century, the Roman Church owned practically, almost half of France and Germany, and two-fifths of Sweden and England, not to mention Mexico and other South American colonies and the Philippines where, the early haciendas were located in Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Rizal, as well as, the islands of Negros, Panay and Cebu. While the colonies in Europe were not so productive, in the Philippines, the vast tracts of land that were literally grabbed from the natives were planted to sugar cane, rice, and coconut. Today, a few Filipino families who are also into politics are “hold-over owners” of these haciendas. And, they are so much devoted Roman Catholics!…and so, exploitation goes on!

 

Because of  her exploitation disguised by evangelization, Rome grew splendidly and gloriously. To maintain such splendor and glory, the papacy resorted to requiring all ecclesiastical appointees to remit their revenues to the “papal curia” in Vatican. A scandal that gave birth to the Reformation movement and also widened further the “schism” is about the pope’s selling of indulgences. Imagine the pope selling “tickets” to heaven! The large sum of money that flowed into the Vatican’s coffer led to more corruption, most prominent of which were committed by:

 

  • Sixtus IV (reign: 1471-84), who spent enormous sum of money in building the “chapel” that he named after himself, the “Sistine”, aside from causing the enrichment of his nephews and nieces;
  • Alexander VI, a.ka., Rodrigo Borgia (reign: 1492-1503) who allegedly, openly acknowledged and afforded financial opportunities to his illegitimate children;
  • Julius II (reign: 153-13), nephew of Sixtus IV, and who was said to be warlike, notorious politician, and who also spent lavishly on art, but failed in his duties as Head of the Roman Church.

 

During the time, the papacy did not monopolize immorality, as there was a popular adage then, that said, “if you want your son to be corrupted, make him decide to become a priest”.

It was alleged that confessors solicited sexual favors from female penitents, and thousands of priests were said to maintain concubines. Reformists were making a mockery of the church by saying that for Jesus’ ministers, it’s always money – from baptism, marriage, till death, with such greed and perversion spreading to Hispanic colonies.

 

Today, in the Philippines, so many Christian ministries have sprung up in almost every corner of big cities, sporting different names and congregate in inauspicious apartment units, former offices, multi-purpose halls of subdivisions, former movie theaters, and for the richy…Cultural Center of the Philippines and Folk Arts Theater which are the projects of Imelda Marcos within the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

 

There is a joke today about the unemployed, but with an oratorical gift to just put up a “ministry” in order to survive out of the tithes or “love offering” from members. These followers attend the gatherings and listen to the same never changing themes about love that they fail to put into practice, as they go back to their old “selfish” ways when they go home by keeping to themselves – within the security of their homes and company of select friends. Still, some enterprising bible-toting ministers even go to the extent of using the religious book in soliciting money from commuters by hopping on to buses and jeepneys to “share” the words from the bible in exchange for money to be put in envelops that they patiently distribute. As this kind of undertaking is some kind of a money-making enterprise, those who conduct such should be taxed!

 

The pope, himself, acknowledges the proliferation of immorality and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church that is why lately, an external auditing firm has been contracted to check on the Vatican records. He even apologized for the abuse committed by some members of the clergy. In other words, nobody among the members of the Vatican-based church is free from the stain of immorality. Still, in the Philippines, the Iglesia ni Cristo, biggest Christian church next to the Roman Catholic, is rocked with a scandal that is undergoing an investigation. There could still be other religious scandals going around, but just get to be contained due to their insignificance, compared to the cursing of Duterte who is running for presidency during the 2016 election.

 

The world today is full of “habitual” sinners – “immorals” in the eyes of the “moralists”, just because these people that they despise do not attend religious services or utter curses habitually, or just simply, polygamous. Can they be compared with those who attend these so-called religious services but got no slightest idea what compassion means? Can they be compared with husbands who fool their wives by playing around with their “queridas”, or wives who squander the wage hard- earned by their husband abroad, on their kept “lovers”?

 

Worst, these “moralists” are emboldened by the thought that it is alright for them to commit sin because they can go to confession, afterwards anyway! ….or worse, eat the host, bread or biscuit that symbolize the body of Christ, the better for them to get “cleansed” immediately! (I read stories about pagan tribes who eat the body of their brave opponents so that such character can be made part of them).

 

Some of these “good” people do not even know the name of their neighbors, so how can they say they love God that they cannot see, but cannot love their neighbors who are just a few steps away from them? Is it not sheer hypocrisy which is just another form of immorality?  Some of them still, who have become more financially stable than the rest, act like horses pulling indigenous “calesas”, that are allowed to look just straight ahead, which is a manifestation of selfishness.

 

By the way, I do not deny that I am a sinner through and through!…please pray for me!

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The Need to Re-examine the historical books about the People whom Spanish Colonizers called “Filipinos”

The Need to Re-examine the Historical Books

About the People whom Spanish Colonizers called “Filipinos”

By Apolinario Villalobos

It is surprising to know that well-known writers were vocal about the supposedly Malaysian ancestry of the Filipinos, a reference which yet, was imposed by the Spanish colonizers. These early writers obviously based their claim on the “Ten Bornean Datus” and the “Code of Kalantiaw”, the veracity of which, have been questioned, since researchers today consider them as “legends”. Pre-Spanish history books made mention about the natives of the islands of Southeast Asian islands, and with whom the early traders such as Indians, Arabs and Chinese had a prosperous commercial intercourse, and in the process intermarried with them. It could be possible that because of trading ventures, those from the Malay Peninsula who have ventured into the Philippine archipelago could have also intermarried with the natives just like the three mentioned groups of traders, but who were never referred to as the ancestors of Filipinos in general . It is unfair then to make a sweeping reference to the Malaysians as the common ancestors of the Filipinos.

The following are some disturbing quotes:

From the poem,”I am a Filipino Boy”, by Amado M. Yuzon, in his book, “The Citizen’s Poems” (1960), the first two line state:

“I am a Filipino boy,

Runs in my veins, Malayan blood;”

From the poem, “Filipinas”, of the same author, from the same book, the second paragraph states:

“I see its face upon your face,

My friend, my sister, my brother;

Your browny skin is its Malayan race,

The Blessed Damosel(?) its mother.

From the book, “Philippine Civics” (1932), used in elementary schools during the American Regime, and authored by Conrado Benitez, p. 16 of Chapter I, the last paragraph states:

“At this point you should recall your Philippine History. How did the first Malay settlers of the Philippines reach these islands? Did they not come in boats called barangays? Yes, these boats or barangays, were loaded with families of Malay immigrants which were related to one another and which constituted a gens(?), or clan, that was under a headman, or chief, or dato. (He must be referring to the legendary “Ten Bornean Datus”).

On page  220, Benitez, emphasized the “Malays” by stating:

“The activities of these early Malays were characterized by cooperation……” (referring to the early Filipinos).

Another emphasis which the same author made was on the title itself of Chapter XIV:

“CHAPTER XIV – How Spain Built Upon our Old Malay Government”

Still, on page 270, Benitez, stated, under a sub-chapter, Bill Of Rights: “Under our old Malayan government, the people had few personal rights.”

Practically, the book of Benitez is replete with reference to the Malaysian ancestry of Filipinos, quoting them all would need several blog pages.  At the time of the book’s publication, he was the Director of Business Administration of the University of the Philippines. His family established the Philippine Women’s University (PWU), located along Taft Avenue. While he was still alive, clamors to re-write history books of the Philippines were loud in view of the questionable ancestry of the Filipinos, based on the controversial “Ten Bornean Datus” and “Code of Kalantiaw”, but he did nothing to republish his own book with necessary rectifications. Researchers who may encounter a copy of the book then, but who has no knowledge on the questionable issue of the Filipino ancestry, will definitely, gobble up the information that Benitez presented.

While the issue on Filipino ancestry has not been settled yet, the Philippine government has added confusion by allowing “authorities” in converting the textbooks into workbooks on other subjects, leaving many students ignorant of what really happened in the past, such as the effort of many national heroes who practically shed blood to gain freedom for the country.

On the issue of Mindanao autonomy, there is no need to cite questionable historic references to give it weight, as we, the people of the Philippines are proud anyway, or our unique Filipino race. There is diversity in religion and culture, just like in any other country, but what cannot be questioned is the harmony that unites us all. And, just like in any other country, the world over, the meddling of politics creates animosities in our country, resulting to the suffering of the Filipinos as a people.

Ang Dahil kung bakit Pinagpapatay ang mga Kristiyano sa Japan noong Unang Panahon – tsismis!

Ang Dahilan kung bakit PInagpapatay

ang mga Kristiyano sa Japan noong Unang Panahon – tsismis!

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Noong panahon ng mga Kastila, ang mga misyonaryo nilang dinala sa Pilipinas ay nakarating sa Japan. Maganda ang relasyon nga mga Jesuits at Dominicans sa mga namumuno sa Japan, lalo pa at masigla din ang pakikipagkalakalan ng mga Hapon sa mga galleon na dumadayo sa kanila. Hindi pinapansin noon ang pagdami ng mga Kastila sa Japan, lalo na ng mga misyonaryo.

Subalit, minsan ay nagyabang ang isang piloto ng galleon na San Felipe sa pagkuwento tungkol sa kung paanong lumawak ang mga nasasakupan ng mga Kastila sabay pakita pa ng mapa. Ang paraan ng mga Kastila na pinagyabang niya ay ang pagpapadala muna ng mga misyonaryo upang mang-convert ng mga tao. Kapag dumami na ang mga converts ay saka darating ang mga sundalo, kaya walang kahirap-hirap ang ginagawa nilang pananakop. Nakarating ang kwento sa mga lider ng Japan na nabahala, lalo pa at napansin nila ang pagdami nga ng mga misyonaryo sa kanilang bansa. May mga ordinaryong sibilyang Kastila rin pero ang pagkaalam nila ay interasado lamang ang mga ito sa pangangalakal.

Ang sumunod na pangyayari ay ang pagpapalayas o  pagpatay ng mga misyonaryong Kastila. Ang mga Kristiyano naman ay pinagpapatay, at isa sa mga ito na naging santo, ay ang Tsinoy na si San Lorenzo Ruiz.

Mga Historical Trivia tungkol sa Pilipinas (part 1)

Mga Historical Trivia tungkol sa Pilipinas (part 1)

ni Apolinario Villalobos)

-Bago dumating ang mga Kastila, partikular, si Magellan, malakas na ang pakikipagkalakalan ng ating mga ninuno sa mga Hapon, Tsino, Cambodians, Indians, Malaysians, Borneans, Moluccans, Javans, at Sumatrans. Balita sa Espanya at iba pang kaharian sa Yuropa ang mga sangkap-panluto na tulad ng pamenta, sili, cinnamon, at iba pa na matatagpuan lamang sa Asya lalo na sa Malacca o Moluccas, at nagpapahaba din ng “buhay” ng hilaw na karne bilang preservative. Ang pakay talaga ng grupo ni Magellan ay ang Moluccas na madaling marating mula sa Pilipinas. Ibig sabihin, itinuring na “transit point” lamang ang Pilipinas. Pangalawang biyahe ni Magellan papunta sana sa Moluccas ang ginawang pagdaong sa mga isla ng Pilipinas, kung saan siya minalas na mapatay ni Lapu-lapu sa Mactan.

-Ang tunay na pangalan ni Magellan na isang Portuguese ay “Fernậo de Magalhậes”. Ang pangalan niya sa Kastila ay “Fernando de Magallanes”, at ang “Ferdinand Magellan” ay sa Ingles naman. Lumipat siya sa pagkiling ng Espanya kahit siya ay Portuguese dahil hindi kinilala ang kanyang naiambag sa mga paglalayag na nagpatanyag sa Portugal. Ininsulto pa siya ng hari noon ng Portugal na si Dom Manuel (the Fortunate) nang humingi siya ng kaunting dagdag na pension. May alipin siyang Asyano na si Enrique, o Henry, na nakatulong ng malaki nang makarating ang grupo niya sa Visayas dahil nakakausap nito ang mga katutubo ng mga isla ng Limasawa, Homonhon at Cebu na una nilang dinaungan. Dalawa ang bersiyon ng kuwento tungkol sa pagkatao ni Enrique. Ang una, siya daw ay anak ng sultan ng Malacca at sa edad na 13 ay sumama sa isang grupong sumalakay sa isang barko ng mga Portuguese at nahuli, pero “sinalo” siya ni Magellan na nagkataong nasa Malacca noon, at dinala siya sa Portugal. Ang pangalawa, siya daw ay isang Visayan na nabihag ng mga pirata at binenta bilang alipin sa Sumatra, hanggang makarating siya sa Malacca. Ang dalawang tawag sa kanya ng mga historian ay, “Henry of Malacca” at “Black Henry”.

-Hindi nagkakaisa ang mga katutubo sa ilalim ng iisang pinuno nang datnan ni Magellan dahil bawa’t isla ay may sariling pinuno o “datu”, at ang may pinakamaraming sakop ay kilala sa tawag na “raha”. Ang unang na-convert sa Kristiyanismo sa Cebu na nakipag-blood compact pa kay Magellan ay si Raha Humabon, pamilya niya at mga sakop. Si Lapu-lapu naman na pinuno ng Mactan ay hindi pumayag at nagbanta pa ng laban kay Magellan kung hindi sila aalis agad. Hindi nakipagtulungan ang mga Kastilang tripulante ng mga galleon na may hinanakit kay Magellan dahil sa pagka-Portuguese nito, sa planong pagsalakay sa Mactan. Hindi sila bumaba ng mga galleon upang lumusob sa mga naghihintay na tropang katutubo sa dalampasigan ng Mactan. Pinanood lamang nila si Magellan at mga kababayan nitong mga Portuguese habang nakikipagbakbakan sa mga katutubo sa dalampasigan hanggang sa siya ay mapatay.

– Nagkaroon ng “peace negotiation” sa pagitan ng mga katutubo at natirang mga Kastilang tauhan ni Magellan pagkatapos ng labanan. Pinagpalagay ng ilang historian na bilang ganti ay nakipagsabwatan si Enrique kay Raha Humabon na “blood brother” ni Magellan, na nagplano kasama si Lapu-lapu, ng isang salu-salo bilang pamamaalam sa mga Kastila. Sa salu-salong naganap, minasaker ang mga Kastila, subalit may iilang maswerteng nakatakas at nakabalik sa mga galleon na agad naglayag. Ang mga buhay na mga Kastilang naiwan ay binihag at ibinenta bilang alipin sa mga mangangalakal na Tsino. Si Enrique naman ay pinagpalagay na bumalik sa kanyang pamilya.

-Ang pakay talaga ng mga Kastila sa pagsakop ng mga isla dahil napasubo na sila, ay upang pagkitaan ito batay sa paniwalang mayaman ang mga ito sa ginto at mga sangkap sa pagluto o spices. Upang magtagumpay sila sa pananakop, pinauna muna ang mga misyonaryo, na bandang huli ay nakipagpaligsahan na rin sa mga opisyal, sa pagpayaman. Ang mga misyonaryo ay mga Jesuits o Hesuwita na kinabibilangan ni St. Francis Xavier o St. Francis of Assissi, at mga Dominikano o Dominicans.

-Ang mistulang tatsulok na kapirasong lupain na ngayon ay ang tinatawag na Intramuros ang tinutukoy noon ng mga Kastila na Manila, at ang Pilipinas naman ay tumutukoy sa iilang isla ng Luzon at Visayas, hindi sakop ang buong Mindanao, kahit na may maliit silang kampo noon sa Zamboanga. Ang “Islas Felipinas” na naging “Filipinas” ay hango sa pangalan ng hari ng Espanya noon na si Philip II.

-Ang mga Kastilang hinakot lamang ng galleon mula sa Espanya upang tumira sa Manila ang tinawag na “Manileῆo” o “Filipino” – mga nakatira sa loob ng Intramuros o “Walled City” na ayon sa mga historian ay tumalo sa kagandahan ng ibang mga siyudad sa Yuropa. Ang tawag sa mga nakatira sa kabilang pampang ng Ilog Pasig (ngayon ay Quiapo at Sta. Cruz) ay mga “Tagalog” (taga-ilog), pero dahil hindi binyagan sa Kristiyano ay tinukoy ding mga “Moro” bilang paghalintulad sa mga “Moors”, mga Moslem na pinalayas mula sa Espanya ng mga Christian Crusaders. Ang iba pang mga nakatira sa kabila ng Ilog Pasig ay mga Intsik na tinawag na “Sangley” isang salitang Amoy na ibig sabihin ay “trader”, at pinilit tumira sa iisang lugar upang makontrol – ang “Parian”, na ngayon ay Chinatown. Ang mga Hapon naman ay pinatira sa hindi kalayuang lugar na ang sentro ay tinatawag ngayong Plaza Dilao. Ang mga nakatira sa mga karatig- lugar ay tinawag na mga “Indio” o “Indian” dahil inihanlintulad naman sila sa mga katutubo ng mga lugar sa South America tulad ng Peru at Mexico na unang sinakop ng mga Kastila.

Malinaw dito na ang mga ninuno natin ay inalipin sa sariling bayan. At, ang “Filipino” bilang katawagan ay hindi talaga laan para sa kanila noong panahon ng mananakop na mga Kastila!

We All Belong to the Same Race…why hate one another, then?

We All Belong to the Same Race
…why hate one another, then?
(this is about the Muslim/Christian conflict in Mindanao, Philippines)
By Apolinario Villalobos

The inhabitants of the archipelago that Ruy Lopez de Villalobos (not related to the author), named “Las Islas de Filipinas” in honor of his king, Philip II, all belong to one race. There is no reason therefore for an inhabitant to assert his being different just because he is a Muslim and lives in Mindanao. Along this line, there is no reason also, for another inhabitant to assert his being a Christian who lives either in Visayas or Luzon. The “Filipino” that we know today, regardless of his region, is the result of cultural impregnations by the different races that came to the archipelago, either to trade or colonize. Most importantly and very clearly, too, our ancestors were not born Christians and Muslims. They were converted by missionaries who were converts, themselves!!! How can we be proud then, of such imposed faith and culture???

Before Mohammed became a prophet, his people were practicing a different religion. He even went through persecutions before he finally succeeded in converting his people and such effort that took a route is the one being followed by those who undertake the “haj”. On the other hand, the Romans were pagans and it was only through the diligence of St. Paul that Christianity took a foothold in that city, but still, only after a series of persecution of Christian missionaries. And, that is how the Roman Catholic religion was developed, spread to as far as Spain, and finally, brought by the Spanish friars to the islands of Visayas and Luzon, as well as, a small portion in Mindanao, particularly, Zamboanga.

The natives of Luzon and Visayas were formerly animists – worshippers of nature. But, long before the Spaniards came, Islam as a religion was already widely practiced in the archipelago. When they set foot on the shores of Manila and Visayas, they already found Mohammedan inhabitants, some of whom they successfully converted into Christianity. Those from Mindanao, who pestered them with piratical raids, they called “Moros”, with barbaric connotation, as it was derived from the “Moors” who were driven out of Spain by Christian Crusaders. This shows then, that the “Moro” which was originally used by the Spaniards with reference to the Muslim pirates from Mindanao does not even have the slightest “native” hint in it. The Spaniards used the reference to show their disgust at the barbaric ways of those from Mindanao, all of whom they thought were pirates, robbers, and uncivilized. In other words, such reference was not concocted by the Mindanao Muslims. So, how can pride emanate from such Spanish-given name with horrible connotation?

Our ancestors were never referred to as “Filipinos” during the Hispanic regime. During the time, the “Filipinos” referred to, were actually the indolent Spanish settlers who lived comfortably in Manila out of the revenue derived from the galleon trade. When the trade faltered, the Spanish king was even forced to send financial replenishment for their sustenance, resulting to the clamor to abandon Manila. These colonists occupied the minuscule stronghold and walled city of Intramuros – the Manila of the old.

The affluent natives were called “Indios”. Those who lived far from the moot-ringed walled city were the Chinese who were forcibly clustered in Parian by the Spaniards with an objective to control their movement. The Parian eventually became the present-day Chinatown, reputed as the oldest in the world. The non-converted Mohammedan natives dwelt along the length of the Pasig River, and as far as Tondo. The friars even called the natives ugly “chonggos” (monkeys)! So how can we be proud of our so-called Hispanic past, when our ancestors were also treated as serfs who provided forced labor in building galleons?

The only time the natives were called “Filipinos” was when the Americans took over the reins of colonization. But, still in the eyes of the new colonists, the natives were still a helpless lot who need succor and further conversion as if Catholicism was not enough, that is why they brought in their own Protestant missionaries and teachers who forced the natives to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”.

That is how we were pitifully victimized as a race and treated as ignoramus, when in fact, before the two colonizers came, the natives were already enjoying a brisk trade with the neighboring southeast Asian states and kingdoms, even Japan and China. Mindanao had its own “royal houses”, too. Our ancestors were already weaving fabrics, manufacturing cannons, and mining for gold. The primary reason why the Spaniards came was to take over the wealth of the natives and bring them back to Spain. And, history books are clear on that. The natives of the archipelago were never helpless. The conversion into Christianity was just secondary and even still with questionable sincerity.

On the other hand, had there been a reversal of events, in which the Arab missionaries concentrated their evangelization effort in Luzon and Visayas, those who are living in these islands would be clinging to the Islamic faith. And, had the Spaniards decided to drop anchor in Sulu or Zamboanga, to put up permanent colonial outposts, those who are living in the whole of Mindanao including Sulu, Tawi-tawi, and Sabah groups of islands would have been embracing Roman Catholicism.

The Filipinos as a race are victims of historic events that dwelt on the scramble for overseas colonization by former western powers such as Spain, Portugal, Holland, and England. We are now suffering from identity crisis due to imposed faiths and cultures. Worse, this dilemma threatens the unity of the whole archipelago. And still worst, the effort to unite is greatly hampered by an inutile and deteriorating government due to incorrigible corruption.

The mistake of the early political leaders was their failure to change the name of the archipelago into something more nationalistic and encompassing when “Commonwealth” status was granted by the United States. The early leaders’ minds were focused on the imposed erudite Hispanic and American cultures. They forgot that somewhere down south, there were other inhabitants, albeit, with different faiths and dialects – the Muslims and Lumads.

The so-called “Filipino” historic leaders whose questionable reputations are beginning to be exposed today had a short-ranged view. They did not consider the geographical situation of the country when they came up with a governing system, such that control may pose a problem in time due to its fragmented situation, which is happening right now. They adopted the unicameral system of other countries, but in framing the Constitution, they followed the “structure and formal appearance” of America’s own. Curiously, they did not copy the Federal system of the Americans who introduced “democracy”. Is it because they did not want to share the authority with those living in the far south? Does this show that greed for power has prevailed as early as that time to benefit a handful pretentious “Filipinos” who framed the hybrid Basic Law of the country, but which proved to be a flop today, despite two revisions?

As a native of this archipelago, I ask: why do we have to begrudge one another today, just because we differ in faith and dialect? Is it the fault of those living in Luzon and Visayas that Mindanao is being neglected by the dysfunctional government? The “enemies” are the faulty government system and corrupt officials. The solution to the problem is not the separation from the organic homogenous system to become a separate state or annexation to another country. There are options that can put an end to the problem on unity, among which could be the federal system, relocation of the seat of the central government somewhere at the midpoint of the archipelago, or review of the current Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to make it more service-oriented. But the eventual solution could be the 24-degree turnaround in our attitude as inhabitants of this archipelago, specifically in the way officials are chosen that is shamelessly hinged on vote-buying!

It is a disgrace, indeed, that we, as a people who came from the same stock should hate one another based on what were imposed on us to become what we are now – Christians and Muslims. We should, instead, fight for our real identity, to enable us to maintain our unity!