Six years ago, a law was passed, with Php 15 million funding, for the celebration of Filipino-Spanish Friendship Day.on 30 June. If memory serves, it was Senator Edgardo Angara who authored the bill and shepherded it through the labyrinth of the legislative and executive branches until it became a law. There is no need to explain why the good senator spearheaded what one might call a 2oth century “Pacto de Sangre” , blood compact and in fact, Senator Angara was also involved in the publication of an edifying coffee table book titled PACTO de SANGRE.
Despite the law and Pres. Angara’s enthusiasm , Fil-Hispano Friendship Day celebrations have had lukewarm response from the general public, yet another proof that the “historia negra” lives on , mindlessly or not, in many official and non-official speeches during various commemorations of events related to the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonial rule. It can be argued that on the Spanish side, the primordial reason for celebrating friendship with former enemies is to obliterate, once and for all, the historia negra from our collective memory, or at least correct persistent misconceptions by highlighting the positive side of colonial rule, instead of dwelling on the negative.
A couple of years ago, the Institute Cervantes, a veritable institution in this country, showed the film “Los Ultimos de Filipinas” ( last to leave ) at a high-end
Had Mr. Rodriguez not given his elucidating prologue, the Filipino audience might have found that 50’s vintage movie quite ludicrous and may have missed the point. But, there are two sides to this point, rather, two points of view regarding the significance of what happened in Baler to the “ultimos de Filipinas”.
The friendship celebration during the past six years, including the one that was held last 21 June ( why they could not wait until the 30th is beyond me) have always emphasized the resilience and loyalty of the “los ultimos”, the Spanish stragglers in Baler and the kindness of Filipino soldiers and townspeople for feeding them in secret instead of massacring them. Well and good, but the point to remember is that in Baler, Spain surrendered to the First Philippine Republic and not to the United States of America as they did in Intramuros, Manila and that Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo abided by the existing international conventions of war by giving humane treatment to prisoners of war. In Baler, the First Philippine Republic and Spain were on equal footing.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Posted by gemma cruz araneta at 7:44 AM