• Liberty at a Price: The Philippine Independence

      Freedom Thoughts
      We all know the story. Probably we memorized the facts on this day--for most, in mind, for a few, in the heart. It was bloody. It was fought for. However, we can't help but wonder-- if our forefathers could witness the Philippines' situation now, would they be proud? Would they say their fight for Philippine Independence was well worth it?

      Personally, each of us longs to be free. But what is freedom really? And why the grave need? Freedom comes at a price, it is never given for free. With freedom comes responsibility as well to hold on to it and fight for what you feel you deserve. Are you free to drink? be responsible for the hangover the morning after. Are you free to love? Be responsible the possibility of getting hurt. Are you free to hurt other people? Be responsible on karma's wrath. Are you a free country? Be responsible on what this country needs to stay free.

      For we can always complain. We can always point who to blame. But we can never be free if we don't realize that each and every one of us has the responsibility to make a change. For, indeed, we are a free country. Then, we should act like one. And if we do realize this, if we love our country enough, we'll do our share. We will not wait for officials to change, or for good programs. We will make our own ways. Isn't that what our forefathers did? Maybe, just maybe, the freedom they fought for years ago will be worth it if each one of us will embrace that responsibility and love our country a little more each day. (Pre-insights: ARA)

      Another Look at History
      Today at exactly 4:20 PM, the Filipino Flag was officially unfurled for the first time at Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s mansion at Kawit Cavite. Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, War Counsellor, nd Special Delegate, solemnly read the Acta de la Proclamacion de la of Independencia del Pueblo Filipino. The declaration was signed by 97 Filipinos and one retired American artillery officer, Colonel L.M. Johnson. Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista waived the Filipino flag before the celebrating crowd on that momentous day contrary to the common belief that it was Gen. Aguinaldo who waved the Philippine flag.

      Today in Cebu 1898
      During this time, the Katipuneros felt they needed a symbol for their nationhood, which was of course, the Philippine flag. According to one source, it was Manila’s KKK who gave out the exact measurements and design of the flag, based in their regular letters to the Cebu Katipuneros. Ambrocio Peña, known by the leaders as a secret follower of the KKK, was ordered to produce it. He then was the main contact of the three women-- Mauricia Gahuman, Buena Ricardo and Justina Peña- to make the flag. After it was made a few weeks later, a courier from Punta Princesa delivered it to Sudlon where the flag was raised near their headquarters. Immediately after its arrival, some 300 Katipuneros took their oath in front of it. All those who came to Sudlon would also take their oaths administered by Luis Flores and other top officers. Those who could not come to Sudlon took the same oath before their officers, swearing their commitment to the struggle for independence.

      While troops of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo begun to taste their short-lived victory against the Spaniards, independence here in Cebu was far from certain. Unknown to the Katipuneros in Cebu, the ships of the American Admiral Dewey were patrolling Manila Bay, threatening Spain's once-invincible armada. After the victorious battle at General V.Weyler Street (Tres de Abril) on April 3,1898 which drove the Spanish forces at Fort San Pedro, Cebuano freedom fighters experienced set-back on their struggle after the treacherous death of their leader Pantaleon Villegas also known as “Leon Kilat’ at the hands of his fellow Katipuneros at Carcar, Cebu on April 08, 1898. Spanish forces regained control of Cebu after reinforcement came to the rescue on the starving forces of Gen. Adolfo Montero and started bombarding the San Nicolas areas.

      But Cebuano freedom fighters didn’t give up on their hope. Gen. Arcadio Maxilom, a native of Tuburan, Cebu, continued the struggle against the Gen. Montero’s Spanish troops, together with known revolutionary leaders like Brig. Gen. Hilario Aliño, Col. Fermin Aliño, Col. Emilio Verdeflor as his adjutants, Rafael Tabal who died with his men on the bloody encounter with cazadores at El Pardo, Gregorio Abellana, and many others. Gen. Maxilom waged the war at the mountains of Cebu and organized a strong contingent of guerrilla fighters. Thus, the famous battles of Cebu history inked their tales like The Battle of Tuburan and Ginkiutan Hill led by Maxilom, the battle of Bitlang Hills led by Rafael Tabal, the battles of Sudlon led by Luis Flores, the battle of Talamban led by Eje and Alejo Miñoza and many battles fought by Cebuano fighters.

      It was only on 24th of December 1898 when the breeze of the long-sought independence was felt by the Cebuanos. At the sound of the trumpet, the Spanish flag was lowered. Spanish officers nearby tore the flag into pieces during their anger and frustration. Some Spanish and Cebuano women cried because it was their last moment in Cebu. In their entire lives, the Christmas of 1898 was decidedly the most memorable day for Cebuanos. The revolutionaries roamed around its streets unperturbed, free at last to visit friends and relatives. A thanksgiving mass was held at the Cebu Cathedral officiated by Bishop Martin Alcocer, with the martial band of San Nicolas of which Justo Cabajar was a member. The cathedral overflowed with people. Joyous shouts of "Mabuhi ang katipunan!" and "Mabuhi ang Pilipinas!" broke intermittently with harmless shots from their rifles. At the end of the Mass, the Te Deum was intoned in thanksgiving.

      But same fate on the short-lived independence declared by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Cebu would enjoy at most two months of self-government before some of its leaders surrendered their sovereignty to the Americans in February 1899.
      Source: The Life and Death of General Pantaleon Villegas (Leon Kilat) by EMIL JUSTIMBASTE
      Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin (as researched by fellow iSTORYAn Diego Salvador)

      The Latest Challenge
      Recently, the country yet again faced a tremendous challenge. Chief Justice Renato Corona has been relieved of his duty as Chief Justice after his impeachment trial. Twenty senator-judges had given a guilty verdict. The result has drawn a mixed reaction from the people. Some questioned the motive behind convicting the Chief Justice; the others believe that the Palace was the one pulling off the trick.

      The entire process was also filled with controversy-- from the gathering of evidence to the presentation of the case-- it seems that things were done in a jiffy without thorough consideration. The trial has turned into a 'teleserye' at some point with the bashing, name-calling, lecturing and the swirl of emotions involved.

      There were feel good times when the Basa's and the Corona's made up with each other on a national television. There was also a dubious instance when the Chief Justice's health conditions dilapidated. Some were moved while the other questioned its truthfulness.

      Until this point, issues about the recently concluded impeachment trial has not yet ceased. However, the trial itself is a clear manifestation of a healthy exercise of independence. Perhaps it has gone way beyond at some point, but the fact remains: nobody is above the constitution and we have due process to follow. Perhaps the problem was how it was carried out.

      There are some people who propose that we are better off without independence and that the country is not yet ready to stand on its own. They contend that we should just have remained under the wings of the United State's power. That we could have been in a better position than what we have now.

      The 'if-only and we-could-have-been situations' are something that we may never know. No matter how we try to analyze it, we could never be certain. However, one thing is for sure. Liberty comes with a price and is not given freely. Our forefathers paid it with their lives, for a long period of time. Though forgotten by some, we owe a lot to them who paid with their blood, and who fought for our country. The only thing we can do to give back to them shows our appreciation and do what we can, this time, in our own ways and in our own fights, to gain the freedom that we feel we deserve.

      By: Diego Salvador
      with insights from Renato “Renz” Sandal Jr. ;
      pre-insights by thisbe.ara
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      Comments 4 Comments
      1. fire2k8me's Avatar
        fire2k8me -
        i want to be free. hehe
      1. franzyap's Avatar
        franzyap -
        woohoo!! freedom Yeahboy!
      1. gierome's Avatar
        gierome -
        young and wild and free. freedom.
      1. niegel's Avatar
        niegel -
        swerte ta rn nga naa natay freedom

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