“Courage and freedom” will be the theme of Mayor
Alfredo Lim’s commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of
the Battle for Manila which took place in February
1945. For many decades, we Filipinos have referred to
that month-long battle as the “Liberation of Manila”,
celebrating the return of General Douglas McArthur.
However, as post-war research deepened, some
historians discovered that no mention was made in
American war records of February 1945, call it
liberation or battle.
As a result, many Filipinos started putting
liberation between quotation marks-- “Liberation” of
Manila-- and about five years ago, after
validating new studies and military documents, and to
the consternation of certain sectors, the National
Historical Institute (NHI) officially declared that
what occurred in February 1945 was the “ Battle for
Manila”. The word “liberation” when referring to
February 1945 was scrapped totally from all NHI
communications. Please take note that the preposition
is not “of” but “FOR” which implies that US
advancing armed forces and defending Japanese imperial
forces were fiercely fighting over Manila, during
the strategic island-hopping campaign of the USA,
aimed at Tokyo.
Japanese and American casualties were minimal
compared to the one hundred thousand (100,000)
non-combatant Manila civilians who were burnt and
tortured to death and who perished in the carpet
bombings. Moreover, the destruction of Manila is
considered the worst in the WW II Pacific Theater.
Gone was the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, a uniquely
beautiful city that boasted of cultural influences
from four continents.
Like other turning points in our history, the
commemoration of the Second World War specially the
“Battle for Manila” is in danger of being distorted,
if not forgotten. Because Japan has become an
indispensable economic force in the Philippines, it
has made deliberate efforts to obliterate residual
anti-Japanese feelings by promoting ostensibly
cultural activities precisely in February , our month
of national bereavement.
When Mrs. Bing Roxas ( may she rest in peace)
was the head of the Cultural Center of the Philippines
(CCP) , she was so incensed when the Japanese Embassy
wanted to hold a kind of flower and kimono festival
at the CCP, precisely in the month of February.
Senator Richard Gordon, when he was secretary of
tourism, was insensitive enough to hold a saki
festival in February, in Intramuros, close to Fort
Santiago where hundreds of Filipinos were
incarcerated, tortured and killed by Japanese forces.
During commemorative rites at San Fernando, Pampanga
many attendees (myself included) were so furious at
the sight of Japanese flags brandished mindlessly by
Filipino participants of the re-enacted Death March.
The mayor had to intervene and the Japanese flags
were taken away. What about that scandalous monument
to a kamikaze in Mabalacat, Pampanga?
That is why Mayor A. Lim will lead the
commemoration of “Courage and freedom” to remember
that Filipinos fought bravely to end Japanese
occupation and those who survived miraculously went
on to rebuild their lives and this country. However,
in his opus CONTINUING PAST, historian Renato
Constantino wrote that during the Second World War,
most Filipinos were fighting the Japanese not to
free themselves and this country from any type of
foreign domination, but because they were longing to
return to America’s smothering embrace. I
remembered Dr. Constantino’s unflattering yet
telling conclusion when I happened upon a family
friend in California, some years ago. Now a US
citizen, former Manilena Mrs. Benjie J. Kosloff
told me that during the “Battle for Manila” a cousin
tearfully reported that an aunt of theirs had died.
“But, at least…,” sobbed the grieving relative “…
tita was killed by an American bomb!” (The public is
invited to the Freedom Triangle of Manila City Hall on
3 Feb, Sunday, at 8 a.m.)
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
It is concise on the facts that were stated. We citizens should abide by all the rules that are mandated for our own safety. We should not by any means set aside measures meant for our own safety. This issue is not only encountered in aviation transport but also in our day- to- day transport.
As we traverse roads leading to our work, schools, or other venues , you'll notice the cramped situation in our PUV's (e.g. Jeepneys and Busses); people are hanging from the rear side just in order to reach their destination.There are even instances when these commuters put in peril their children and companions who sit on their laps at the far end of these transports, not even giving any consideration to the youths safety.
Laws were passed and some responsible drivers warn these individuals to refrain form their actions, but no effect.
people are at fault and they just blame the government for their demeanor. we as citizen should realize that our safety starts form our own selfs. although laws and ordinances are passed for our safety it need not be reminded to us through law enforcers nor should it be set aside.
i just hope that we as citizen of this country be responsible enough to act for our own self and not just let this burden be carried by our government. let as act as one promote a better sense of responsibility for our country and countryman's sake
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I read your article on bills for
Filipino culture, heritage, and language preservation.
The senators may want to consult two outstanding pioneers in this
field: Drs. Teresita Ramos and Ruth Mabanglo University of Hawai'i at
Manoa. They play significant roles in my continued advocacy for
Filipino language and culture in San Diego, California as an educator
and a community leader.
Thank you for your
informative article. Hopefully, the advocates in the Philippines will
collaborate with their counterparts in the United States.
(Juanita Santos Nacu, EdD, is a
lecturer on Filipino Heritage and Language
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
A couple of radio commentators, notably Mr.Ted Failon, did lament that many of their colleagues were ignoring the 109th birthday of this republic as they anticipated bloody clashes between police forces and grassroots groups commemorating the 1987 Mendiola Massacre (Thirteen farmers were shot by government forces at Mendiola Bridge). To this writer, the non-government organizations and grassroots associations that had painstakingly planned marches and memorials missed an excellent opportunity to place their protest in the proper historical context. Had they connected the 1987 Mendiola Massacre to the 109th birthday of this country, they could have enlightened us and made us understand that their struggle is historical and affects all Filipinos.
As we all know, the teaching of Philippine history , even after 109 years, is still a highly polemical issue. On one hand, colonial mentality prevails so the teaching of history is a low priorityand official hesitation prevails specially about delving into the revolutionary period , the invasion of the USA and the ensuing colonization. On the other hand, the Left, which is supposed to be the purveyor of change, seems to have disengaged itself from the very march of Philippine history by quickly dismissing anything they consider “bourgeois”(burgis). The National Democratic Front has its own national flag design. In my opinion, instead of rewriting history and/ or suppressing it, in lieu of denigrating the the Malolos Constitution and the First Republic or pretending that these never existed, an effort should be made to connect our current peasant problems to the non-fulfillment of the Articulo Adicional of the Malolos Constitution—the forgotten legacy.
Even before the Mendiola Massacre, many Filipino peasants and agricultural workers had already shed their blood because of the land issue. While the“brains of the nation” were deliberating on theMalolos Constitution and inaugurating Asia’s first democratic government, peasant farmer groups were already clamoring for land as the birth of a free nation had awakened great expectations. The delegates of the Malolos Congress did not forget that and proof is the last article of the Malolos Constitution, the unnumbered ‘adicional’, which declared that friar lands and estates that were “taken from the people” had reverted to the nation since the 12 June 1898 declaration of Independence. Peasant groups marched to Malolos because they felt the new government was not moving fast enough to distribute those lands. Moreover, corruption was already rearing its ugly head; historical records show that peasant groups were accusing some generals of the Revolutionary Army of appropriating large tracts of land for their personal use. Apolinario Mabini, chief adviser of Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo wrote numerous memos telling him to punish those officers. After the Philippine-American War, the American colonial government had other plans for the distribution of the friar estates, the rest is bitter history. # ____________________________________________________________________________________Never m
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Some years ago, Assistant Secretary Jake Ortega, then Air Transport Office (ATO) chief restored my faith in humanity and, to a certain extent, in the bureaucracy. For that reason, I was perplexed when the current ATO head seemed lost when he was heaped with insults and blame after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suddenly announced that the
One fine Saturday, shortly after I was appointed Secretary of Tourism, I received an angry phone call from a tour operator based in Clark, Pampanga, accusing “The Government” (to use her words) of jeopardizing the tourism industry. Apparently, she and her foreign partner, a Mr. Cuerno, had a plane load of passengers, securely strapped to their seats, ready to fly to
Sometimes, we citizens make it difficult for “The Government” to do its duty. My Cabinet colleague, rhe Secretary of Transportation was out playing golf, but fortunately, his assistant secretary, Jake Ortega, was already at the helm . Confidently, he promised to look into the matter and after a few minutes he called back to say that the ATO cannot possibly allow Mr. Cuerno’s aircraft to fly because the latter had consistently refused to have it examined and tested by the ATO. Mr. Cuerno had leased an old Illusyn plane from
It must have been heroic to work at the ATO in those days. When an Air Philippines plane crashed somewhere in the wilds of
Going back to my story, Mr. Ortega suggested that I immediately call a meeting at the Department of Tourism, which I did, so he could explain to Mr. Cuerno, in my presence, about the importance of abiding by ATO regulations. To my surprise, Mr. Cuerno did appear and looked rather debonair in a gray morning suit. Mr. Ortega told him that the ATO Aviation Safety Division staff members in
However, I later found out that that was all for show. Mr. Cuerno’s people did not allow the ATO to even peek into the engine of the Ilusyn so, naturally, no flight permit was issued. “Can you imagine if something had happened to that plane after it had taken off from Philippine territory!” Mr. Ortega exclaimed, “ The image of the
Yet, I was summoned to appear before a senate hearing because then Senator Francisco Tatad had received a verbose letter of complaint from-- guess who?-- Mr. Cuerno himself. But when I told the good senator how the ATO saved the day, he quickly dismissed the case and went on to the next issue.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Fans of Mar Roxas should get his list of
“sayang” items. We always criticize our political
leaders for being clueless, because most of them do
not even bother to draft a plan of action that is not
stuffed with motherhood statements. If they do not
know what the people want, they should at least have
an inkling of what we do not want. Here is one
senator, a presidential aspirant, who at least knows
what he does not want for this country. At a recent
meeting of the formidable Foreign Correspondents
Association of the Philippines, (FOCAP) Mr. Palengke
read his “sayang” list
Naturally, the good senator had to explain what
we Filipinos mean by “sayang” and tried to
translate it into the English phrase “What a waste,”
which also connotes regret, forlornness, over what
could be and might have been. Not quite, but that is
as close as one can get to ‘‘sayang”, a word in
Filipino “that so captures the sentiment of the
average person on the street.”
The “saying” : (1) ” As the first colonial
people to regain our freedom, we had a head start in
the race for development among the new nations. At
Independence , thanks to a comparatively benign
American colonialism, our individual incomes were
among the highest in Southeast Asia . Then, after
having led our neighbors in GDP growth in the
post-Independence period, we soon started to lag
behind.. .Thailand passed us by in 1981. Now the
average Thai has per capita income twice that of the
average Filipino. Malaysians have per capita four
times that of Filipinos. Singaporeans almost 20 times
more than the average Filipino. Indonesia and Vietnam
are breathing down our necks”.
2. The day-to-day erosion of the people’s trust in our
institutions has resulted in an increasingly
dysfunctional political system. The senator said trust
in all top four government institutions has
significantly declined compared to the previous
quarter. “From a net positive 32 rating in September,
the Senate has declined 13 points, to a positive-19 as
of year-end.The House of Representatives' net
satisfaction score fell from positive 18 to only
positive 3. The Supreme Court dropped from positive 24
in September to a neutral net positive 5 in December.
This is more glaring, given the fact that it has
enjoyed double-digit positive approval ratings over
the past four quarters. The Cabinet went from a
neutral net positive 1 to a negative 9, a steep plunge
that reflects the President’s own negative trust
However, Mr. Palengke remains optimistic and
determined. He said: “A silver lining though is that
business continues to exist and in some instances
thrives in what is its own parallel universe. A
stronger peso and a shrinking pool of qualified
workers could slow down the pace of growth in this
sector. In spite of this, though, we continue to hope
that this will remain a shining star of the Philippine
economy... The service sector will continue to lead
the way in terms of opportunity and employment ...
Mining will continue to draw in foreign investors …
and or once, the stars are aligned for the agriculture
On the other hand, Senator Roxas said , nearly
three thousand citizens leave the country everyday to
work abroad. More than a hundred Filipinos per hour
are packing up and leaving to secure a brighter future
for their families. They prefer two-year job contracts
elsewhere than to face unemployment and
underemployment here at home. "Young Filipinos have
learned to plan their lives around self-contained exit
plans as migrant workers...Development and
nation-building is all about hope; take that hope away
and the smart ones use their energies not to build
their nation but to escape from
Be a better friend, newshound, and
know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.
Un saludo afectuoso desde México.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Quibuyen ( Asian Studies Center, UP) affirmed that it
is important for us to understand Rizal’s concept of
a nation so we will appreciate why he was only too
happy to live and die for the Filipino. Rizal wrote a
memorandum on 12 December, for his trial, where he
explained his concepts of liberty ( libertadad) and
independence ( independencia), affirming that a
people can be free without being independent, and can
be independent without being free.
Interestingly, Dr . Quibuyen directs our
attention to the way “kalayaan” (independence) was
used by Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto to show a
close ideological link between them and Jose Rizal.
The difference between freedom and independence
becomes even clearer when the December 12 memo is
related to El Filibusterismo, where Fr.
Florentino’s tells the dying Simoun: “Why
independence if the slaves of today will be the
tyrants of tomorrow?”
Dr, Quibuyen explained that to Rizal,
:”Independence is meaningful only if the new rulers
have also been transformed into new men (and women)
who can govern wisely and justly, for the benefit of
a people who have, in turn, become united and
enlightened towards promoting the common good. Only
then, in Rizal’s perspective, can a people become
truly free. “ To Rizal, continued Dr. Quibuyen, the
nation is a moral concept (a post-Enlightenment idea)
and is not equivalent to the nation-state which refers
to the political structure that encompasses a people
living in a given territory and subject to the laws
imposed on them by the State.
Dr. Quibuyen argued that a State has a monopoly
of coercive power and can compel people to abide by
its imposition, like taxes, and military service,
in exchange for safeguarding the people’s rights and
interests. Contrary to that was Rizal´s belief that
a nation is a moral community bound by a sacred
covenant to resist evil and injustice; and to promote
the common good. In Rizal’s view, according to the
lecturer, the nation-as-community is the moral
foundation upon which the nation-state should be built
and . without this moral community, the nation-state
could not possibly have a moral direction. Justice
and the common good ( very Catholic notions, Quibuyen
emphasized) are the fundamental principles of a moral
community. Rizal must have studied St. Augustine who
wrote: “Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but
bands of criminals on a large scale?”
Dr. Quibuyen concluded that Rizal wanted to
obliterate the ubiquitous presence of greed in the
social and political life of this nation. Greed
creates scarcity; and scarcity foments greed. Thus,
greed and scarcity go together—a point underscored in
chapter ten of Noli Me Tangere. Today, in the
prevailing neo-liberal discourse, greed and scarcity
are considered normal. But to Rizal’s moral vision
greed and scarcity are the roots of injustice,
violence and human suffering. The alternative to greed
and scarcity is Rizal´s moral community.
Pinning his hopes on the youth, Rizal often
counseled his nephews; on 20 December 1893 he sent
young Alfredo this letter: "To live is to be among
men and to be among men is to struggle. But this
struggle is not a brutal and material struggle with
men alone; it is a struggle with them, with one’s
self, with their passions and one’s own, with errors
and preoccupations. It is an eternal struggle with a
smile on the lips and tears in the heart. On this
battlefield man has no better weapon than his
intelligence, no other force but his heart."
Rizal did not only write, he practiced what he
preached. During his exile in Dapitan, he showed
that it was possible to build a moral community for
the common good.#
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Last 30 December, Dr. Floro Quibuyen (Asian Studies Center, UP) gave the annual Rizal lecture sponsored by the National Historical Institute. He spoke about some relatively unexplored facets of Rizal’s life. These are: 1) Rizal´s essay, “Filipinas dentro de cien años”, 2) his concept of the nation, 3) his Dapitan years, and 4) Rizal´s hitherto unnoticed minor study on Oceania.
Dr. Quibuyan described Rizal´s essay as ground-breaking and futuristic for no other Filipino scholar of his time had dared envision the Philippines in one hundred years. (This appeared in the Sept 1889- Jan 1890 issue of “La Solidaridad”).Thorough in his analysis of historical forces—both local and global—that impinged on the Philippines towards the 1890s, Rizal foresaw that these islands would eventually have to contend with the USA.
“Filipinas dentro de cien años” began with some annotations Rizal had made to correct Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas ( published in Mexico in 1609). Rizal described the impact of Spanish conquest on the natives of these islands as a “terrible crisis” because it changed “government, laws, usages, customs, religion and beliefs” which resulted in depopulation and impoverishment.
Rizal argued that the natives lost “confidence in the past, [while] still without faith in the future.” Because “they gave up their writing, their songs, their poems, their laws in order to learn by rote other doctrines they did not understand, another morality, another aesthetics, different from those inspired by their climate and their manner of thinking…” decline and self-degradation set in until “they began to admire and praise whatever was foreign and incomprehensible, their spirit was dismayed and it surrendered.”
Dr. Quibuyen pointed out that Rizal´s wrote about “a factor which did not exist before” called “national spirit” that was finally awakened by “… a common misfortune and a common abasement” . It united all the inhabitants of the Islands and was promoted by a “large enlightened class within and without the Archipelago” which Rizal called “the brains of the country” and that “.. within a few years it will constitute its entire nervous system and demonstrate its existence in all its acts.”
In that edifying essay, Rizal argued that the road to progress could no longer be blocked, that the Philippines could no longer remain a colony as it will either be assimilated by Spain, “ … with more rights and freedom or will declare herself independent after staining herself and the Mother Country with her own blood. Either way, the advancement and moral progress of the Philippines is inevitable; it is fated .”
Prophetically, our national hero concluded that “Spain is not the only factor to be considered. In fact, because she is already on the decline, she is no longer the most crucial factor in the Philippines’ future. The younger generation of Filipinos, who would shoulder the task of building a new nation and preparing the country for the 20th century, would have to contend with the rising superpower in the Asia-Pacific region-- the United States of America.” ( And the rest is history!—if I may add.)There will be more on Dr. Quibuyen´s enlightening Rizal lecture.
In our picnics in Spring and Fall here in Las Vegas, NV we always have piniata for kids as a game to the excitement of all. However, we have always thought it as just a game. Probably, all of us do not know the real significance of piniata. Now, we know thanks to you.