It's Independence Day once again. We ask as always when we salute the Flag that symbolizes our Nation: Are we really independent?
Have we been doomed by our own Act of Proclamation of Independence of the Filipino People that declared "independence" as a new Nation, but one under the protection of the United States of America which country in fact did not then recognize us?
To add insult to injury, America then bought our country for $20 million dollars from Spain through the 1898 US-Spain Treaty of Paris--to the exclusion of the Philippines.
Can we truly move forward when the very colors of our flag, the heart and soul of our aspirations, bespeak of colonial mentality? And our president now has to run to US President Obama to seek help in our current territorial disputes with China?
It was written in our independence act and so proclaimed on June 12, 1898, that:
"And, lastly, it was resolved unanimously that this Nation, already free and independent as of this day, must use the same flag which up to now is being used, whose design and colors are found described in the attached drawing, the white triangle signifying the distinctive emblem of the famous Society of the 'Katipunan' which by means of its blood compact inspired the masses to rise in revolution; the three stars, signifying the three principal Islands of this Archipelago-Luzon, Mindanao, and Panay where this revolutionary movement started; the sun representing the gigantic steps made by the sons of the country along the path of Progress and Civilization; the eight rays, signifying the eight provinces-Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna, and Batangas - which declared themselves in a state of war as soon as the first revolt was initiated; and the colors of Blue, Red, and White, commemorating the flag of the United States of North America, as a manifestation of our profound gratitude towards this Great Nation for its disinterested protection which it lent us and continues lending us."
Nevertheless, in the euphoria following the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, we restated in our new 1987 Constitution the fundamental desire for genuine freedom. Among other things, we provided for an independent foreign policy and even for the adoption of a new name, national anthem, and national seal.
However, the "colors of Blue, Red, and White, commemorating the flag of the United States of North America" in our flag as declared in our proclamation of independence was maintained.
Independence can only be effectively realized if it springs from the basic right to self-determination, which is rooted in the sovereignty of our people alone as symbolized by the flag; and not under the protection of any other country.
Perhaps it's time we remake our flag to simply bear the white triangle, the three stars, the sun, and its rays. And then we start anew for real independence.