The Context of Independence Day Today

Today, independence seems more of a facade rather than a genuinely felt reality.

The Philippines is celebrating the 120th anniversary of its independence tomorrow, 12 June 2018. The celebration of Independence Day marks the nation's victory against more than 300 years of Spanish occupation. It supposedly signified the culmination of the struggles and tribulations experienced by many Filipinos at the hands of the colonizers. Yet, a century after, we remain subservient to many outside forces and influences.

The Cambridge dictionary defines independence as: (1) freedom from being governed or ruled by another country and; (2) the ability to live life without being influenced by other people. If we go by these definitions, our country appears to be not entirely independent.

Today, independence seems more of a facade rather than a genuinely felt reality. There are manifestations which support this claim. Our indebtedness to other countries for their assistance and support has compromised our government's ability to exercise sovereignty without undue influence. The poor conditions experienced by many of our OFWs are manifestations of abuse and slavery, which were prominent practices during the Spanish period. Most of us continue to patronize imported brands instead of local ones despite the high quality of our own. Worse, some quarters are giving up parts of our country or territorial claims to our neighbors in exchange for sweetheart deals and personal favors.

The fight for our country's independence took away the lives and properties of our ancestors and forbearers. Today, our generation of public servants are conveniently selling-off our country's independence for self-interest and preservation.

The country's dark days are not yet over. The struggle to achieve lasting independence is a daily struggle. The battle for independence is also not just against external forces, but against our own.

Beyond celebration, Independence Day should be a reminder for us to commit to protect, preserve, and build on the victories of our yesteryears. Otherwise, Independence Day will be nothing more than a holiday and parade for the succeeding years to come.

About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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