If the new BBL does get enacted by Congress, there will be no stopping the separatist rebels from going one step higher, and insisting on an independent Moro state, under pain of rebellion. That will be a clear diminution of Philippine independence.
Today is the 120th anniversary of Philippine independence. After the usual flag-raising ceremonies at the Luneta and the Emilio Aguinaldo shrine in Kawit, Cavite, and the endless protestations of nationalism from many politicians, it will be just another official holiday for many.
After almost 400 years under the Spanish colonial yoke, Filipinos overthrew the conquistadores from the Iberian peninsula. One of the principal reasons for the Philippine revolution against Spain was the exasperation the natives had with the abusive friars, many of whom were not only villainous and perverted, but also meddled in state affairs.
The union of church and state prevalent in the Philippine Islands during the Spanish colonial period was eventually replaced with an official separation of the sectarian from the secular, both under the short-lived first Philippine republic, and thereafter under the American colonial authorities.
Despite the official separation of church and state mandated by the 1935 Constitution, the 1973 Constitution and the present charter, many religious sects continue to meddle in national politics today. Their interference ranges from edicts to vote for specific candidates, to outright criticism and condemnation of specific legislations and executive acts. In fact, certain religious leaders continue to enjoy enormous political clout, and their “blessings” during an election season are always sought by politicians.
From all indications, the meddling Ayatollahs are still in power today.
Independence presupposes the ability of a nation to defend itself and its interests against foreign aggression. The historical record indicates that the Philippines obtained “independence” three times — from Spain in 1898, from Japan in 1943, and from the United States in 1946. Despite this dubious records, the Philippines has the weakest military force in South East Asia. The nation is unable to get Sabah back from Malaysia, even as Filipinos in Sabah continue to be discriminated against by the corrupt government in Kuala Lumpur. Islets in the West Philippine Sea which belong to the Philippines, and declared as such by the International Court of Arbitration at the Hague in the Netherlands, have been seized by Communist China and remain in alien hands, in full mockery of Philippine sovereignty. Where is independence in all that?
The Muslim insurgency in the country has been a problem for decades. Armed rebels supporting the insurgency have been pressing for a separate state, a move continuously opposed by the national government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. To address the problem, the 1987 Constitution called for the establishment of an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Some time thereafter, the separatist group appeased by the creation of the ARMM gave way to another Muslim separatist group which demanded their own special accommodations from the national government. In a vain attempt to project himself as a peacemaker, President Benigno Aquino III called on his political stooges to draft the infamous Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and had it sponsored by his opportunistic allies in the Liberal Party, which then dominated the House of Representatives.
The Aquino-sponsored BBL had so many unconstitutional provisions, including one calling for the establishment of what is, to all intents and purposes, a Muslim sub-state in Mindanao. Fortunately, then Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. put an end to the dismemberment of the country as contemplated under the Aquino-sponsored BBL.
Sadly, there is an attempt to revive the BBL under the present administration. Although the sponsors of the new BBL claim that it has no more unconstitutional features, that has yet to be seen amid propensity of last-minute controversial provisions to legislation nearing enactment by congressional leaders. If the new BBL does get enacted by Congress, there will be no stopping the separatist rebels from going one step higher, and insisting on an independent Moro state, under pain of rebellion. That will be a clear diminution of Philippine independence.
Actually, the demise of the Aquino-sponsored BBL proved to be a blessing for the country. Since the recently ousted prime minister of Malaysia was actively involved in the railroading of the original BBL in the Philippines, and considering that he now faces criminal charges for large-scale corruption in Malaysian courts, President Rodrigo Duterte and congressional leaders should find out if Malaysian bribe money sponsors the new BBL.
Last but not the least is the national language. Independence was an impetus towards establishing a national language for the Philippines. The nation was once on the right path with its language program, until the task of drafting the national language fell into the hands of a handpicked, unelected few who came out with a “national language” called “Filipino” just seemingly endless corrupted phonetic translations of existing English and Spanish words.
As a result, old but beautiful Philippine words like pamantasan and dalubhasaan are now unibersidad and kolehiyo, respectively. Other beautiful Philippine words like agham, sining and wika are slowly fading away.
Worse, the Filipino youth are currently imitating irresponsible local TV celebrities who speak in combinations of English and Tagalog words. Consequently, many young Filipinos have difficulty forming even just one simple sentence in complete English or in Tagalog.
Adding to the national language nightmare is the list of government officials who love to be seen on television or heard on radio, but who are unable to speak in either complete English or in complete Tagalog. What an embarrassment!
Happy independence day to all!