Politicians should not change our history
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - June 12, 2019 - 12:00am

Today is a holiday as it is the 121st Independence Day of the Philippines, which is called in Tagalog “Araw ng Kasarinlan” or “Araw ng Kalayaan”. As a journalist born in 1951, it still disturbs me that we are celebrating Independence Day during a time when we really did not have a single nation accept our sovereignty.

I checked via Google what Wikipedia has written about our Independence Day: “The day came as the Independence Day of the Philippines by the virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 28, issued by then-president Diosdado Macapagal on o May 12, 1962. The proclamation declared June 12 a special public holiday throughout the Philippines ... in commemoration of our people's declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence." To us senior citizens, during our high school and college days prior to the 1962 proclamation by President Macapagal, we celebrated Independence Day on the 4th of July 1946, one year after the end of World War II.

Back in those days, just after the end of the war the British Empire lost a lot of ground when it gave India its independence, which meant that Pakistan was also given independence, then the Dutch gave Indonesia its independence in August 1945. This was because World War II was fought by the western nations that wanted to free Europe from Nazi control.

However, while the western powers, the US, UK, and France gave sovereign rights to its colonies, (remember the Philippines was given its independence on July 4,1946), the Soviet Union which won the war against the Germans grabbed the Baltic States, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria and the free world called it the “Iron Curtain”. It only collapsed when the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) broke apart and disintegrated and freedom was found in Russia.

In our day we always look forward to celebrating Independence Day with parades with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and our Reserve Officers Training Corps at the University of San Carlos. This is why when President Macapagal issued a presidential proclamation, it dawned upon me that politicians had no right to change Philippine history! What if Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte issued another presidential decree proclamation putting the Battle of Mactan as our official Independence Day, would we all accept this? I don’t think so!

To set the record straight, 121 years ago, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo waved the Philippine Flag in the balcony of his residence in Kawit, Cavite. For the record, any person can raise his nation’s flag in the confines of his home, regardless of his citizenship. So it is not illegal for an American, a Briton, or German living in the Philippines to display his flag in his home. This is why Gen. Aguinaldo’s raising the Philippine flag really had no historic significance at all. Added to that is the reality that no existing nation on this planet recognized Philippine independence during that time.

While the events on July 4, 1946 had Americans bringing down the American flag while raising the Philippine flag and all the nations members of the United Nations accepted Philippine sovereignty! So tell me, which event had more historical significance not only to Filipinos, but also to the world? I rest my case!

* * *

If you didn’t know, last month, the Supreme Court decided with finality that the CMO 20, which reduces the college general education curriculum to 36 units and removing Filipino and Panitikan as core subjects, was valid. But Tanggol Wika, a group advocating the use of the Filipino language, assailed a previous decision of the SC affirming a policy to remove Filipino and Panitikan as core subjects in college, maintaining that it is unconstitutional. This group doesn’t accept the decision of the SC.

If you ask me, we Cebuanos have been favored by this SC decision because it limits the Filipino people from getting jobs if they do not speak Tagalog, which has been redefined by pro-Tagalog activists as Filipino. For more than 30 years now, I have a group that calls itself Defenders of Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago (DILA) which has been fighting this issue and why Filipino is 99.9 taken from the Tagalog language. We now have Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte who speaks Bisaya, so this group that calls itself Tanggol Wika, has truly become irrelevant to the nation of Filipinos that speaks various tongues or languages.


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