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Biala, Christine Joyce G.

PI 100

01 March 2016

Pre-Hispanic Class Structure, Law and Order

What similarities and differences do you see between the class structure in 16 th-century
Philippines and 21st-century Philippines?

A person can perceive the world


he lives in and realize that life is
unfair, and its not simply some mere
bad luck or unforeseen circumstances.
Its just that a person was already born
to be either more favorable or less
fortunate than another. Meanwhile, Joe is
an average person, but how average can
an average person exactly be?

accumulate wealth and assets as well,


which is their strongest suit, in
declaration of financial and fixed
acquisitions which are proportional to
their social status. Some may interfere
with politics, while others have empires
of their own, such as corporate entities
and fan basesthink of Henry Sy and his
mall empire.

Social classes have existed since


the rise of civilizations, and have never
failed to promote social inequality,
except for communism. They are
systematized into hierarchies which
serve their roles in the society. 16thcentury Philippines were divided sociopolitically,
as
compared
to
the
contemporary Filipinos who are divided
socioeconomically.

Other people may also upgrade


their social statuses. During 16th century,
there occurred intermarriages between
different social ranks, with the spouse of
lower social rank assumed an inbetween
rank
as
well
as
the
responsibilities along with it. Today,
people are distinguished according to
their quality of lifeoccupations, ranging
from entry-level to executive positions,
capacity to pay, lifestyle, acquisition of
assets,
organizational
status,
reputations, etc.

Highest social ranks have always


been the most privileged. In 16thcentury, there were datus. As the social
and political systems were strongly
interconnected, they assumed political
responsibilities as they lead and
governed their people, settled disputes,
protected the territory from enemies,
and lead in battles. They were not brats
left by their fathers to leisurely sit still
unskilled, as they were trained and
specialized as well. They accumulated as
much wealth as they could acquire,
which should be a far cry from being
indebted, which was commonly the
reason why people were demoted as
slaves. Their contemporary counterparts
are the high-income class, whose people
range from capitalist politicians to
corporate giants to the most influential
multi-millionaire celebrities with multiple
ventures.
Like
the
datus,
they

Middlemen have always had


freedom,
as
well
as
having
responsibilities
which
served
an
advantage to the ruling class. In 16 th
century, there were the timawas, who
were called the freemen as they were
free from any financial instability. They
served alongside the ruling class as
knights
and
hidalgos.
Timawas,
especially those who elevated their
social ranks, had to prove themselves as
true
and
recognized
ginoos.
Meanwhile, all modern-day citizens are
entitled to free will, with guidance
according to the law, rather than a
privilege to a particular status. The
contemporary middlemen are midincome earners, who are also skilled as
they work in various occupations and

industries,
and
their
skills
taken
advantage by larger entities, may it be
for the benefit of humanity or for profit.
Middle class has a wide range (e.g.
upper-middle and lower-middle), and
people tend to prove their [better] social
status
through
lifestylemobility,
consumption, residential location, etc.
whichever boosts their egos. They also
feel the need to secure assets for future
use as well as their heirloom, which the
timawas were also capable of, sans the
full control to transfer properties to their
heirs.
When the Spaniards arrived in the
16th century, datus were converted into
Christians and, along with timawas, paid
tribute to the colonial government,
which
demoted
the
timawas
as
commoners. At present, or rather a few
years ago, due to strong political ties,
the Philippine government approved of
the set-up of the US military bases within
the country, which many Filipinos
expressed with disappointment, as it

might be a strategic approach towards


US hegemony, leading to Filipinos being
treated as colonial subjects all over
again.
The lowest social rank were the
commoners. In the 16th century, there
were the olipun, who were bought and
sold as slaves in the marketplaces,
adjacent to poultry and other produce.
The status may either be temporary,
such as those who serve for their debts,
or permanent, such as those who were
born during the parents slave status.
The contemporary counterpart is the
low-income class, who were also called
masa or the slipper crowd, in
reference to the staple footwear, bakya.
They have the right to freedom, as well
as struggles to constantly look for job
opportunities,
which
are
usually
temporary. As a source of manpower,
they are exploited by large entities,
alongside the exploitation of natural
resources within the environment.