June 12 is one of the most important holidays in the Philippines as it marks the country’s liberation from its Spanish conquerors in 1898.

Philippine Air Force (PAF) aircraft conduct a flyby exercise practice at the Luneta Park in Manila on June 8, 2022 in preparation for the 124th Philippine Independence Day on June 12, 2022. President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the flag-raising ceremony. (Photo by Ali Vicoy/MANILA BULLETIN)

It’s been 124 years since the country gained its independence after being colonized for over 300 years. Numerous technological innovations later, how would the present generation value and uphold the country’s independence?

‘Learn from the past’

For President Duterte, he said the celebration of the country’s independence is a testament to how our forefathers fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today.

“May it inspire us to take after the courage of our heroes as well as encourage us to use our ability, skills, and knowledge for the benefit of our community,” he said.

“Let us also work together so that we could realize our vision of a more harmonious and progressive Philippines,” he added.

The outgoing leader hoped Filipinos would learn and draw inspiration from the country’s rich history.

“Take heart all the learnings from the past, especially the countless hardships that we had to endure as a people,” Duterte said.

“Let our rich histories move to translate our love for this country into real acts of goodwill for all our fellow men,” he added.

‘Being stable to stand alone’

For 27-year-old marketing consultant Wesley San Sebastian, he sees independence as a state of being able to stand alone – without needing anyone or anything.

“Pwedeng by nature, you’re independent na talaga about something (It can be independent by nature), or the universe nurtures you to be independent later on in life,” he said.

“For example, after years of studying, you landed a job that pays you a decent amount monthly. You can be financially independent na from your parents or older siblings cause you are now starting to afford to pay for your needs. That’s independence being nurtured by life,” he added.

San Sebastian believes Filipinos are independent for the most part.

“For the most part, I would like to believe that we currently are enjoying a decent level of independence. We are inarguably far from being fully independent. However, what’s bothersome is that our track seems to be heading towards more dependency,” he said, referring to how the country imports food like rice or galunggong.

But more importantly, San Sebastian believes the idea of supporting everything homegrown is one way of upholding independence.

“Not just about the usual goods, though. The Filipino arts, creativity, and talent are more than worth the patronage,” he said.

‘Still divided’

Communication Student Gabrielle Banan agreed that while independence can be political, ideology, a dream, or a mere social construct, freedom would mean having “total autonomy” from any form of power or control that comes from people or ideas.

But as a country, she thought the Philippines was not yet genuinely independent because the people were still divided.

“The facts are already out there, but the concept of independence is so far-fetched,” she said.

“In our case, even if we identify as one country, we are still held by different beliefs, philosophies, and ideals. As long as we’re divided by those, we’re never truly independent,” she added.

According to Banan, upholding independence boils down to fighting for truth, justice, and equity in the country’s name, as our forefathers did over a century ago.

“Upholding independence is upholding the principles and conviction of those who fought for it,” she said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/06/12/kalayaan-124-how-3-generations-value-and-uphold-the-countrys-independence/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kalayaan-124-how-3-generations-value-and-uphold-the-countrys-independence)