Is it Philip­pines or Ma­har­lika?

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

IN THE sec­ond half of the 19th cen­tury, the Catholic Church was able to pro­duce sec­u­lar priests from the mixed so­cial classes … cre­oles, mes­ti­zos and na­tives (with in­dio an­ces­tors). They were re­moved from parishes they had held for years to make way for new Span­ish fri­ars.

The shared feel­ings of per­se­cu­tion deep­ened. The cry for re­forms was echo­ing from the heart to rea­son, “Filip­inas para los Filipinos!” To si­lence the grow­ing clamor for Filip­iniza­tion, the Span­ish au­thor­i­ties un­leashed a ‘Reign of Terror’. Thou­sands were ar­rested and tor­tured. In our his­tory books, scores of prom­i­nent lib­er­als were ex­iled.

Three priests were sen­tenced to death for ‘con­spir­ing’ to over­throw Span­ish rule in the Philip­pines. Two were ‘in­dios’, Mar­i­ano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora; and the other was a young and bril­liant Span­ish mes­tizo, Jose Bur­gos, parish priest of the Cathe­dral of Manila.

It was a dan­ger­ous mis­take com­mit­ted by the Spa­niards. The ex­e­cu­tion of the three priests cre­ated thun­der and light­ning. On the morning of Fe­bru­ary 17,1872 … cre­oles, mes­ti­zos and in­dios from ‘pueb­los’ and the coun­try

sides flowed like flood wa­ter at the Luneta (be­fore known as Bagum­bayan Field) to glo­rify the heroic deeds of the mar­tyred priests. The three racial groups be­came one in spirit and in ac­tion.

So­cial Stud­ies teach­ers and stu­dents should know this. In 1908, the Span­ish-amer­i­can War broke out in Manila (in Cuba also). A U.S. Navy squadron sank the Span­ish fleet in Manila Bay. The Spa­niards ap­pealed for the sup­port of the na­tives in fight­ing against the Amer­i­cans. The Spa­niards used the term ‘Filipinos’ not ‘in­dios’ any­more. Too late. The Filipinos (some only) sided with the Amer­i­cans; but they re­pented for that.

So, by the stroke of fate and his­tory, we are known as Filipinos. You may or you may not like it. If we go back to the root word, we are the sub­jects of King Philip II of Spain … and we are the sons of Mother Spain and the Father­land, Filip­inas. That is his­tory and the term ‘Filipino’ could have been an in­ci­dence in his­tory.

Do not be judged by your con­science alone. Our be­ing Filipinos have his­toric and in­trin­sic value. Af­ter all, his­tory is a marker for the deeds of great men. Just like you and me, any man has only one life­time but his­tory can al­ways re­mem­ber you and me … and the other Filipinos, too.

“Ma­har­lika?” Can we be com­fort­able by say­ing that we are ‘Ma­har­likans’ from the Fed­eral Repub­lic of the Ma­har­lika. Pres­i­dent Digong may come to love you for that not with a ‘slip of the tongue’ or a ‘play of his mind’. My fel­low Ma­har­likans, let us re­trace our an­ces­try be­fore we were col­o­nized by the sword and the cross of the Spa­niards and be­fore we were taught by the Amer­i­cans to eat ap­ple and use tooth­brush. (To be con­tin­ued)

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