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The Roots of the Filipino People : The Epilogue

The Roots of the Filipino People : The Epilogue

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Published by Steve B. Salonga
THE ROOTS OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE by Onofre D. Corpuz © 1989 EPILOGUE

In order to bring this to a happy conclusion......let us   display   unimpeachable   honor   in   social   relations   and   refined manners toward our fellow men,  in  every way   striving  for   our   redemption  and   common   liberty;   and   finally, I repeat that you should promise and engrave   upon your breast, thus making it known to all, that  in  case any foreign power should attempt to deprive us of   any part of t
THE ROOTS OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE by Onofre D. Corpuz © 1989 EPILOGUE

In order to bring this to a happy conclusion......let us   display   unimpeachable   honor   in   social   relations   and   refined manners toward our fellow men,  in  every way   striving  for   our   redemption  and   common   liberty;   and   finally, I repeat that you should promise and engrave   upon your breast, thus making it known to all, that  in  case any foreign power should attempt to deprive us of   any part of t

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Published by: Steve B. Salonga on Nov 04, 2010
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09/08/2014

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T
HE
R
OOTS
 
OF
 
THE
F
ILIPINO
P
EOPLE
 
by Onofre D. Corpuz
©
1989
EPILOGUE
 In order to bring this to a happy conclusion......let usdisplay unimpeachable honor in social relations andrefined manners toward our fellow men,
in
 every way striving for our redemption and common liberty; and finally, I repeat that you should promise and engraveupon your breast, thus making it known to all, that
in
case any foreign power should attempt to deprive us of any part of this Archipelago, we would exhaust all our energies and resources, and struggle as long as thebreath of life remains,
in
defense of our nationalintegrity. -- Aguinaldo's message to town presidentes, Kawit. Cavite (3 August 1898)
The fading away of nationalism as the guiding spirit and paramountvalue in Filipino politics might be said to have begun with the founding of the Nacionalista Party of 1907. Its leaders were untrue to their party'sproud name. In Quezon's autobiography, in his own words, we find that inearly 1942 he had decided to place his loyalty to America no matter whatwould happen to his people:
I swore to myself and to the God of my ancestors that aslong as I lived I would stand by America regardless of theconsequences to my people or to myself.
The Nacionalista campaign for independence-without-nationalism endedwith the inauguration of a republic in the Luneta on 4 July 1946. A specialbloc of seats in the grandstand was occupied by a group of aging veterans of the Revolution, many dressed in their old
rayadillo
(thin striped cottonduck) uniforms. The sun broke through the morning drizzle as the Filipinotricolor was hoisted up the flagpole.The proteges and successors of the Osme
ñ
a-Quezon tandem took overafter the war. One of their first measures was to authorize “backpay,” and sothey collected salaries for all the war years during which they did not serve. A lively issue for some time was that of collaboration with the Japanese
E
PILOGUE
1
 
T
HE
R
OOTS
 
OF
 
THE
F
ILIPINO
P
EOPLE
 
by Onofre D. Corpuz
©
1989
occupation regime. In the verdicts of the tribunals that tried thecollaboration cases, the men who were declared to have collaborated withthe Japanese were called traitors, as if those who were loyal to the UnitedStates, and fought the guerrilla war so that the Americans would return,were any less betrayers of their nation's integrity. The meaning of thenation had been lost; the Filipinos could only view themselves in terms of other countries. Madre Espana was gone, but it was now replaced by Mother America.On 4 July 1946 the Philippine President entered into an agreementbinding the government to have the Constitution amended, for the purposeof negating those provisions that reserved the right to exploit naturalresources to Filipino nationals, and extending this right on a “parity” basisto Americans. Early the next year the President signed an executiveagreement granting lands in the public domain, rent free, to the UnitedStates as military bases. The agreement stated that on the American side itwas pursuant to a 1944 resolution of the US Congress to acquire militarybases in the Philippines. It was to have a life until 2046 A.D. From here onthrough the 1960s, presidents or presidential candidates would strive toenhance their political stock by seeking Washington's blessing or favor. Aninvitation to make a pilgrimage to the American capital was ideal.The abandonment of nationalism by Filipino governments, specificallyvis-
á
-vis the United States, had the inevitable result. Since all thegovernments were controlled by the center or right, the nationalistic role fellby default to the political left. The situation remained unchanged into thelate 1980s. The jerry-built coalition that deposed Marcos in 1986 includedno nationalistic parties. It was simply anti-Marcos. Thus, if the politicalcenter and right would persist in shunning nationalism, the left, either legaland non-communist or illegal and communist, would continue to be the voiceof Filipino nationalism.Moreover, because of the establishment's weakness or servility relative tothe United States, the nationalism of the left had to be essentially definedby anti-Americanism. Although unavoidable, this narrow definition of nationalism almost exclusively in terms of pro- or anti-United Statespolicies or measures distracted the Filipinos from a positive or holistic
E
PILOGUE
2
 
T
HE
R
OOTS
 
OF
 
THE
F
ILIPINO
P
EOPLE
 
by Onofre D. Corpuz
©
1989
understanding and practice of nationalism.The absence of a nationalistic commitment at the top levels of leadershiphad a subtle and unappreciated result. It allowed the deterioration of a vitalnational institution: the civil service. The civil service or bureaucracy is theonly instrument through which government can execute the laws, managethe public affairs, and serve the people. The colonial civil service wasefficient, partly by design and partly because its task was simple: toadminister a colony. The occupation regime was concerned neither withtransforming nor democratizing Filipino society. It merely set up an elitistsystem of government and politics.When the old colonial bureaucracy became the civil service of a republic,the tasks of government not only expanded but became more diverse andcomplex. The leaders talked of democracy, social justice, and developmentthrough modernization and industrialization. The bureaucracy thereforehad to perform an expanded array of functions. But then the first thing thatthe political parties did was to destroy the neutrality of the service.By the 1950s political influence through letters of recommendation andsimilar pressures from party leaders had become common and then decisivein appointments to key career positions. Technical and professionalqualifications became secondary and often as not ignored. By the 1970s theassault by the parties had virtually destroyed the competitive examinationssystem. Most of the political proteges at the lower levels were dead beats,repelling the public by their uselessness; they spent office time peddlingitems of clothing and jewelry or food to office mates. The more privilegedwere "15-30s"; they reported on the 15th and 30th each month only to collecttheir salaries. Meantime, the civil service commission lost control over entryinto the service. By the 1980s politics had reduced the commission to anineffectual personnel records office.The destruction of neutrality went hand in hand with erosion of efficiency. Even if the majority of civil servants did their jobs when treatedas professionals, the politicalization of most positions was demoralizing.Civil servants lost public regard and their once high social status, with theadded result that their bargaining power for proper salaries was weakened.
E
PILOGUE
3

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