By Gonzalo Duque
IN spite of the bad weather, the city of Dagupan had a very meaningful and successful Independence Day celebration.
As usual, there was a good crowd, everybody was well- dressed, as if it was sunny weather.
Ipagbunyi ang leadership ng ating butihing Mayor Belen T. Fernandez and the special committee that handled the program.
Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza, the guest of honor, did not make it, but he sent his two assistants — Carl Miranda and Sarah Fernandez, sister of Mayor Belen. It was however, Carl who gave the Independence Day message of Atty. Francis Jardeleza.
Lawyer Farah Decano, city administrator, did the introduction of the guest of honor.
The program which was held at the Stadia was preceded by the wreath laying rites at the City Plaza participated in by city officials, leaders and representatives of civic, business, schools and nationalistic organizations.
If you ask us, we have strong reservations on the government edict declaring June 12 as our Independence Day. This was done by former President Diosdado Macapagal in obedience to the wishes of General Emilio Aguinaldo, the officially – but controversially – declared first president of the Philippine Republic.
Matagal na nating dene-debate ang pagpili ng June 12 as our Day of Independence.
Ewan ko sa inyo… pero hindi gaanong malalim ang respeto natin kay Aguinaldo. There are historical accounts that point to Aguinaldo as having “sold us to the Americans.” We shall discuss this in another article in future issues.
If you reflect on the news that we get everyday about massive graft and corruption committed by our high officials in the government, you might agree with us if we say that our country has not yet lived up to the standards of a self reliant and economically viable nation.
As you know, our people have to beg for employment abroad. Sana ang overseas employment ay option lang. Hindi yong tayo pa ay nagmamakaawa to foreign employers. Nakakahiya, but it’s true.
And so we ask, are we free?
Alam po ninyo, tayo po ay laging nababahala sa estado ng ating mga OFWs. They are forced to work in dirty, dangerous and demeaning jobs abroad.
We would like to imagine our government being able to provide decent jobs to all Filipinos. It’s up to now a distant dream.
Our government’s failure to do this means it is not self-reliant.
You see, we consider self-reliance as the “first cousin” of freedom.
If we are not free, then we can’t prosper.
And so, how can we celebrate Freedom Day when we are not yet free?
Sa totoo lang, mas pabor tayo doon sa classic event nang ang mga katipuneros at revolocionarios ay nagsisipunit ng kanilang cedula sa Balintawak as a declaration of break from Spain, a true symbol of freedom.
That was held on August 26, 1896 — ang tunay na deklarasyon ng ating independencia.
Hindi June l2 na kagagawan ng isang mapagsamantalang lider ng himagsikan.
Pag-ibayuhin ang pag-aaral sa ideyang ito.