Originally published at El Fuente Magazine, Firsts Issue, S.Y. 2009-2010
“111 TAON NG KALAYAAN NG PILIPINO MULA SA KAMAY NG MGA DAYUHAN…SUBALIT NANANATILING NAKAKULONG SA KASAKIMAN NG MAPAGSAMANTALANG KABABAYAN! PINOY! GUMISING KA! IMULAT ANG MGA MATA, KUMILOS AT MAKI-ISA SA LABAN TUNGO SA TUNAY NA DEMOKRASYA,” says a streamer that silently displays itself at the waiting shed near the Gate 1 of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University campus. Atenista, have you even laid eyes on it?
It has been 111 years since our mother Philippines was released from the chains cuffed by the Spanish colonizers for almost 400 years. We all know that many Filipinos, our heroes, were very much dedicated to fight for the freedom they say we are experiencing right now. They shed tears, blood, and even their own lives. It has been 111 years. It was on June 12, 1898. They say we are free. Independence Day 2009 has passed. Did you even notice?
On May 21, the names Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili hit the headlines like fireworks in the morning sky. People had series of talks, interviews, and debates that paraded after video scandal crept its way on to people’s DVD players and PCs. Are you one of them?
On June 02, the issue on the Constituents Assembly competed the fireworks display of the Kho-Halili scandal. Hayden Kho’s case reached the senate and different senators grew hot over the topic without any formal conclusion for the public. Then, for all we know, we just heard different house representatives carelessly whisper, or rather carelessly utter, nays and ayes that will lead us to a complete alteration. Have you heard them?
On June 12 in Metro Manila, thousands attended the Kalayaan Concert which featured international singing sensation Charice, and a tribute to the late Filipino master rapper, Francis M. In Koronadal City, South Cotabato, people spent the day with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who led the Independence Day rite in the city. In Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Zamboanga City, dried leaves keep falling from acacia trees and ants were busy finishing off left-overs on the trash bins. Atenista, where were you?
Random Ateneans were asked what they did last June 12, Friday, a holiday. And nine out of ten answered that they were…fast asleep. “Nasa bahay lang, natulog. Holiday e,” states one student. But when asked if Independence Day is still worth celebrating, “yes. It’s a tradition naman e. But for me, ‘yung essence talaga niya, parang nakakalimutan na natin.” And only seven out of ten agreed. “Are we independent na nga ba talaga for us to celebrate? Parang hindi nga e,” expressed one of the other three who chose otherwise.
On one of the reports that emerged on that day, Chief Justice Reynato Puno said that there is no reason to celebrate independence “until we are unable to fix our country, we cannot say that we are truly free, “Puno disclosed.
We are experiencing many issues and concerns in our country and nothing has been settled down so far. Until something is done and something good will happen out of it, we will remain only partly free. Now the question left is, Atenista…nasa bahay na lang ba tayo at tutulugan ang lahat ng ito dahil…holiday?