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Geography gave rise to the different languages, which made the Philippines a multi-lingual society. It also created distinctive regional characteristics, which evolved to stereotyping for a tribal grouping. Basically, Filipinos are of Malayo-Polynesian stock. Except those few who were products of intermarriages with the Chinese, Americans, and other foreigners, Filipinos look similarly with brown skin, medium build, and height. However, they are differentiated by language, religion, and regional practices. All these are pats of the development of the Filipino as caused by geography and history. Early Government The pre-Spanish Filipinos were organized into small political units known as the barangay. Barangay- a Malay word for a boat (from the word balangay) that came to be used to denote an communal settlement. The Filipinos were organized into these small political units. It consists of 30-100 families. Kinship were lead by the datu (sultanates are led by the sultans, and rajahnates are led by the rajahs). Social Order/Divisions: 1. Nobles 2. Freemen 3. Slaves (aliping sanguigilid and aliping namamahay) Internal and interbarangay behaviors were defined by some costumary laws. And since they have their own alphabet, they also have written laws, which are strictly enforced under threat of heavy penalties like slavery and death. Conflict resolution is well institutionalized where the chieftain played a prominent role with the advice of the maginoos or council of elders. Governmental powers are fused under the chieftain but in the process of governance, the wisdom of the maginoos is always consulted. In may concerns like war, alliance making, and ritual sacrifices to appease angry spirits, collective leadership and consultative decision-making were practiced. Under costumary laws, early Filipino women enjoyed a degree of equality with their male counterparts. They could manage their own livelihood; they could own and inherit property; they could even succeed into chieftainship. Thus, among early Filipinos, leadership is not a monopoly of men. Even in battles, women join their men, and in some instances, they took the lead. Filipino men do not take the leadership of women as affront to their masculinity. This is a part the general attitude of men that places high regard to their women. Most of the early Filipinos are animists. They believe on spirits and the existence of the soul. The concept of spirits is the foundation of Filipinos abiding respect with their elders and ancestors. Thus, a common ancestor is a unifying factor being invoked during the settlement of inter-family desputes.
Two centuries before the coming of the Spaniards, the sultanate system of government was introduced in Sulu and in Mindanao by Arab traders. It brought a revolutionary change into the belief system and into the political system. It turned the polytheistic Filipinos into monotheism. Under the sultanate system, the independent barangays were integrated to form a centralized political system. The main characteristics of the sultanate system include the following: y y y y Highly centralized, with the sultan as the Chief Executive Islam is the common religion for the subjects of the sultanate There is a distinct group of religious leaders who takes care of religious maters and who are consulted by the sultan on administrative and religious affairs. Unity is fostered by the sense of brotherhood in Islam; laws are based on the Holy Quran, hence, viewed as God-given and the sultan is the implementer of laws.
Islam was brought in the Sulu Archipelago in the 14th century by Makhdum Karim, an Arab trader, and to Mindanao island by Rajah Kabungsuwan, a Malaccan nobleman. From then onwards, Muslim princes carried on expeditions to propagate Islam. While Islam is easily displaced over the years among the peoples in Luzon, and the Visayas, it retained a foothold in the central parts of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The process of Islamization was halted by the coming of Chirstianity in the 16th century. The Spaniards devoted much of their energy in trying to convert the different islands of the Philippines into Christianity. However, they met a stiff resistance from the Muslims in the Southern Philippines who fought ferociously to defend themselves against the Spanish colonialism. But the effort to evangelize the said areas continued for 3 centuries where the Filipino Christians played major rols under the Spanish flag. These bloody encounters have sown the seeds of discord that divided the nation. The coming of the Americans in the Philippines paved way to the introduction of the Protestant churches that led to the division of Chirstians into different groups. In the Philippines, religion is a political vehicle exploited by many to advance their political career. Values represent the aspirations of a group of people, the things people consider to be good, and thus serve as standards for action or behavior. Here are the prevailingvalues in the Filipino society as they have evolved through time, influenced by the historical development of the Philippines. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. extended family and close family ties walang hiya and gaba utang na loob, pakikisama and pakikiramay democracy and education pakikibagay and aregluhan bahala na attitude and amor propio kapalaran and anting anting
The economy is closely intertwined with politics here in the Philippines. He who controls the economic resources controls political power likewise, since electoral politics is costly and the elites dominate the party system. Moreover, the Philippine setting is near a level playing field for business. Cronyism is rampant and this is always the incentive for businessmen to spend millions of pesos for the campaign of
the candidates. Most of the cronies of presidents from Marcos to present are Chinese Filipinos. It should be noted thatFilipino Chinese, although minorities, play a vital role in Philippine economy. The role of the Chinese minority in the Philippine economy is significant and perhaps, no other groups could replace. Many of the ilustrados were later given a big boost by the Americans who provide them with opportunities for participation in government affairs. May of them became political leaders, in fact today, names such as Aquino, Marcos, Recto, Laurel Osmena, Roxas, etc. are still heard and these are already the grandchildren of the founders of their political dynasties. On Nov. 1, 1897, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo established th Biak na Bato Republic, whose constitution was written by Isabelo Artacho and Felix Ferrer, as patterned from the Cuban constitution in 1895. The organs of the government are the following: 1. Supreme Council 2. Supreme Council of Grace and Justice 3. Assembly of Representatives
The said republic was short-lived, and Aguinaldo entered into a pact with the Spaniards to end the revolution. The Pact of Biak na Bato had the following terms and conditions: y y y An amount of P800,000 will be paid bby Gov. Primo de Rivera to the Filipino combatants and Aguinaldo and his staff will go into voluntary exile in Hong Kong. The said payment shall be made in 3 installments. The Spanish government shall pay an additional P900,000 to the non-combatants whose families were affected by the revolution.
The terms and conditions were not fulfilled in full by both sides. On April 25, 1898, the SpanishAmerican War broke out and an opportunity was opened for Aguinaldo s men to return. On June 12, Aguinaldo proclaimed independence and shifted his dictatorial government to a revolutionary government. It was composed of: 1. Executive Department-which was assisted by 4 departments: a. Department of Foreign Affairs, Navy, Commerce b. Department of Finance, Agriculture, and Industry c. Department of Police, Internal Order, Justice, Instruction and Health d. Department of War and Public Works 2. Legislative Branch. On Jan. 23, 1899 the First Republic of the Philippines with the Malolos Consitution was inaugurated. But earlier than the said inauguration, the Treaty of Paris was concluded, which then ceded the Philippines together with other colonial territories of Spain to the US. The mock battle of Manila and the Treaty of Paris were the monuments to the real intentions of the US to the Philippines. The Americans justified their stay in the Philippines as a mission accord with the wishes and aspirations of the Filipino masses, that the Filipinos were unprepared for self-government and that the Americans should prepare them. Schurman Commission- was the first Philippine Commission headed by Jacob Schurman. 4 Military Governors from 1898-1901 1. Gen. Wesley Meritt,
2. Gen. Elwell Otis 3. Gen. Arthur Mc.Arthur 4. Gen. Adna Chafee Spooner Ammendment- ended the military regime, sponsored by John Spooner of Wisconsin. Taft Commission- Second Philippine Commission. William Taft- headed the Taft Commission, became the first governor for the civil government 1901. Legislative Body Philippine Commission (1907-1916)- became the upper house. Philippine Assembly- lower house, created through the Philippine Bill of 1902, composed of 80 delegates. Jones Law- created the bicameral Philippine legislature. Judiciary-composed of: y y y y y Supreme Court of the US Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands Court of First Instance Municipal courts Justice of the Peace courts
Local Government Three tiers of the local government: y y y Province City Municipality
Tydings McDuffie Act-provided for the commonwealth government.
Source: Aguja et. al., A Course Guide in Philippine Politics and Governance, 2010 Fact sheets prepared by: Glen Jornales