1. What is a ‘state’?
A small dictionary defines state as “a territory with laws”.
The word “laws” in this definition naturally implies that there are people living in that “territory”. This also means that the “territory” is the patrimony of the people living in it for which they have laws.
And the very fact that a territory has its own laws, it also implies that it has a basic attribute of sovereignty to make such laws for itself.
Thus, the word “laws” in this definition also implies that there is a government, with defending soldiers or policemen, existing in the same and referred to territory that enforces those laws upon the people living in it.
That government may be monarchial because the ruler is a Chieftain or a King or by whatever title such a ruler may be called.
Let us now find out the origin and evolution of the State that locals, as well as foreigners, now call as the Filipino State. Ang Estado ng Filipinas.
2. When was the origin, or birth, of the Filipino State?
When Philippine history is taught now-a-days, the origin, or birth, of the Filipino State is not discussed. It is deliberately omitted.
By whom? – You would ask. And we would answer pointblank: —– by our White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) masters who by their undue interference in the language and economic policies of the Filipino State threaten, or violate, its attribute of sovereignty.
Why? – You would again ask. In order to turn Filipinos into strangers in their own country for the purpose of better exploiting them economically in the midst of their confusion about themselves.
And this charge can be proved true by the un-Filipino results of the educational system principally conducted in English which most often makes relative, or insecure, the attribute of sovereignty of the Filipino State.
But let us go back to the main question. When was the birth of the Filipino State?
The answer is very easy.
At the same instant that Manila was founded and established as its capital city. And the date given to that event is June 24, 1571.
It is, therefore, a fact that the Filipino State was simultaneously founded with the founding of Manila. For, why should there be a capital city, seat of a Central Government and Law, without a corresponding State to govern?
And due to this fact, we come across a grave error being committed in the manner Philippine history is taught in our schools.
We often tell our students and children that Manila was founded on June 24, 1571 as the Capital City of the Philippines but we always fail to teach that with its founding the Filipino State was also founded and established.
We also fail to underscore that from that day onward, the Filipino State began to exist as a jurisdictional reality up to the present time as we find ourselves talking about it in this year 2000.
3. What was the status of the Filipino State in 1571?
Its status was that of a Province of Spain administered through the vice-kingdom of New Spain which is Mexico today.
At the beginning, the Filipino State was treated as a missionary and military outpost by its creators. The Spanish military was there to guard and protect the missionaries and the scant Spanish civil population that came to settle in the Islands.
But this situation does not affect the other fact that the constituents of the newly formed Filipino State were primarily the Spanish Conquistadores followed by the indigenous (mostly Tagalog, Pampango and Visayan) and Chinese population that accepted the King of Spain as their sovereign.
Naturally, by accepting the Spanish King as theirs, all those mentioned became Spanish citizens in fact. And as Spanish citizens they shared in whatever attributes of sovereignty that Spain had at that time.
This is the reason why Spain was referred to as their State’s Mother Country. And this also may explain why Filipinos stood with Spain, for almost four hundred years, against all the several invasions of their islands launched by the Dutch, Limahong and the British.
We may add that under the United States of America, the Filipinos stood by her against Japan because they lived with the thought of sharing with Americans their country’s attribute of sovereignty even if General MacArthur, unlike Sim?n de Anda, chosed to flee from the Philippines leaving Filipinos to themselves with the phrase ‘I shall return’.
The tragedy of the Filipino war veterans waiting for American compensations in the form of a grant of U.S. citizenship with all its benefits, is a drama that we are witnessing up to now and well into the new millennium. But this fact is merely noted as a footnote to the relative “attribute of sovereignty” due the existing Filipino State.
Going back to the establishment of the Filipino State in 1571, we moreover note that when the reigning King of Spain became Felipe II, the name Felipeno acquired a more pragmatic connotation. It meant ‘one who paid tribute, or taxes’, to Felipe. Thus Felipenos were also the Indios who rendered service in his name and the Chinos Cristianos that paid the necessary licencia (a form of tax) to him for doing business in the Islas Felipenas. The other Felipenos were, or course, the Spanish Conquistadores and Frailes that served Felipe II.
(As a linguistic note, we remind our co-Filipinos that the two letters “E” in Felipeno were eventually replaced with the letter “I” because the indigenous Al?bata did not have neither an “E” nor an “O” in its composition. Being influenced by Arabic it only had three vowels or phonemes, —-namely A, I, U).
- 4. The integration of the pre-Hispanic ethnic states
The majority of the local Chieftains that came to the 1599 synod, upon learning of the foregoing benefits, overwhelmingly voted Yes to the proposal about the Spanish King being their sovereign.
Even the Moslems of Manila, of Joló and Mindanao said Yes to this proposition thereby integrating their own local Estates into the recently founded Filipino State. The favorable vote of these early Moslem groups was later affirmed by Sultan Alimuddin of Joló when he later visited Manila.
Thus the local Moros also participated in the establishment of the Filipino State from the start.
The 150 or so Chinese residents in Mayi-in-I-la also said “Sí” to the same proposal and became citizens of Spain.
Thus, the Filipino STATE, started out with three kinds of people as its founding constituents. These are the Spanish Conquistadores and Frailes, the Tagalog, Visayan and Capampañgan katutubô or indigenous (Indios to the Spanish records) and the Chinese that migrated from both China and the destroyed Orang Dampuan settlement in northern Mindadanao.
As the Messianic Spanish Frailes went on with the founding of Catholic pueblos, which they also endowed with maiz, camote, kamatis, sibuyas, ajos, calabaza and the guisado, the asado, the pinirito (frito), the salseado, the enjamonado, the embutido and the puchero and the tinola, they also got the Chinos Cristianos to bring over some Chinese culture, particularly their cuisine.
With the help of their indigenous flock and their Chino Cristiano co-adjutores, the Frailes got to build, through the bayanihan system of both the Polo and the Falla, all those awesome Catholic churches, roads, bridges and Casas-Tribunales and Casas Reales that used to dot every Filipino pueblo of recent times.
Thus, the Filipino STATE became consolidated in fact because of the patient work and determination of the Spanish Frailes at the head of their Indio and Chino Cristiano flock.
Then, Filipinos, with their Indio and Chino Cristiano relations, became full-fledged Spanish citizens. This happened in 1810 when they were given Spanish surnames for identification and tax purposes. Those who wanted to keep their Indio, or Chino Cristiano, surnames were allowed to do so with the condition that these be spelled and pronounced in Spanish.
Thus Indio surnames like Macaspac, Maglaque, Agcaoili and Chino Cristiano surnames like Tantiongco, Cojuangco, Tanjutco, Locsin, Lacson, etcetera, became Spanish surnames with their owners also becoming Spanish citizens.
There were only five kinds of taxes imposed upon them. These were: the cédula personal, the licencia, the amillaramiento, the aduana and the herencia.
There were, then, no such oppressive things as a yearly income tax to pay at source and to file every March and April. There were no oppressive EVAT, no gasoline tax, no electrical and water distribution tax, no amusement tax, no 70% inheritance tax, no confiscatory land and business taxes, no court, litigation, entertainment and prostitution taxes and no cigarette and drink taxes, etc. etc. now collected to mainly pay an atrocious foreign debt and an oversized and graft-and-corruption ridden bureaucracy.
In the Nineteenth Century Filipinos revolted against Spain in their desire for political reforms but were overtaken by the war declared by the U.S.A. in order to grab Cuba, Puerto Rico and Filipinas, the three last provincias de ultramar or Spanish over-sea provinces.
The U.S. WASP invaders did not only downgrade into a mere “insurrection” the Filipino resistance to their war. With the war they cruelly imposed upon the recently born República Filipina of 1898 the unphonetic English language.. The U.S. WASP invaders cruelly nullified the flowering of the 1571 freely established State in Asia.
5. Maturity of the Filipino State in 1898
Thus, after 337 years, the FILIPINO STATE became so rich and so vibrant that from a mere missionary outpost it went on to become a colony, in the Spanish sense of the word. It went on to become an over-sea Spanish province under a Ministerio de Ultramar until it graduated into the 1898 Republica Filipina which the invading American forces of the 1900s literally destroyed with an unjust war by murdering one sixth of its total population (see: “The Philippines, Land of Broken Promises” by James B. Goodno, page 33) and plundering from it its reserve in gold and silver worth, according to witness Soledad Vital de Luna (in her 1952 letter), over one hundred billion U.S. dollars.
From the full-fledged STATE that it was, the Filipino State was grossly demoted into a servile U.S. neo-colony ridden, from the start, with graft and corruption as aptly described by the El Renacimiento Editorial of 1907, “Aves de Rapida” (Birds of Prey).
The Republica Filipina of 1898, as the legitimate owner of the Filipino STATE, gallantly defended itself against the U.S. WASP invasion in a protracted war that began in the Santa Mesa-San Juan bridge, with one Captain Grayson being the first to treacherously open fire upon Filipino soldiers.
The Filipino-American war formally ended with the capture and execution of the second President of the Republica Filipina, Macario Sakay, in 1907.
- 6. 1900: The Filipino people was deprived of its own State
When the American WASPs had, at last, succeeded in imposing their military and neo-colonial rule, one of them, James Leroy, concluded that the Filipinos became stateless as a result of U.S. expansionism. (See: “Filipinas para los Filipinos”, a book written by Epifanio de los Santos Crist?bal /EDSA/ edited in 1908).
Indeed, the Americans claimed the Philippine Islands as a “territory of the United States of America” but never gave any American citizenship status to the Filipinos as Spain did from the start of her rule.
Thus, while it was the Spaniards who started for all Filipinos the organization of what was later to become their own Filipino State, the basis of their national patrimony and rights, the American WASPs took away from the Filipinos, their own STATE.
This explains what James Leroy said.
This is the reason why the fact about Filipinos having been Spanish citizens is deliberately being silenced in any present history text book of this country.
And this all because our servile educational authorities of today are afraid to recriminate the American WASPs for having withheld the U.S. citizenship due to the Filipinos in lieu of the latter’s loss of their status as Spanish citizens and, later, their own loss as citizens of their own independent 1898 Rep?blica, —which the same U.S. WASP invaders brutally destroyed and robbed.
This is why a famous newspaper writer, Tirso Irrureta Goyena, who was also a lawyer, a political science professor, a poet and a friend of Claro M. Recto, wrote the following critique in 1916 against the unjust American take-over of the Filipino State at the great expense and loss of the Filipino people.
“The American occupational Government in the Philippines ought to make it known that the Filipinos now live under the American flag but are not American citizens nor can they call themselves Filipinos since no Filipino State is presently allowed to exists; that this people therefore are like the Jew, robbed of National personality; but that under the Spanish rule the Filipinos were Spanish citizens and could occupy, as many occupy still, important posts in the Motherland.
“It ought to make it known that now the Filipino cannot command American troops, white troops, because the brown color of his skin forbids it, but that this color never was an obstacle under Spanish rule to keep a native Filipino from commanding white Spanish troops, as several of them actually continue to do up to now in Spain.
“It ought to make it known that the Filipino, on account of the color of his skin, can neither be a member of a white association of Christian young men, now being organized as such into a common center but in a separate building for Filipino associates, when there already exists one for Americans and foreign whites.
7. Was the Filipino State mortgaged and hocked? Was it gross betrayed? Will the Filipinos remain to be stateless even in their own country?
Thus, because of the confusion wrought upon the national psyche of the Filipino people through the implacable requirement of the English language, —-over Tagalog-Filipino and Spanish—- the Filipino State has ended up being a virtually lost property to the Filipino people.
The confusion and chaos wrought upon the Filipino language and compulsory English has somehow resulted in the virtual mortgage of the Filipino State to the U.S. WASP banks and to whatever they may deign dictate over the destiny of Filipinos.
The solution to this betrayal could, perhaps, be the out-right rejection of the use of the English language on the part of a more respectable Filipino people,——-unless the U.S. government and people take in the Philippines as a State of their Union and assume all the debts, which they themselves did impose upon the Filipino State through slavish Filipino politicians in the first place.
If the U.S. chooses not take in the Philippines as a State,—-even as a Free Associate state like Puerto Rico—-, the rejection of English must be immediately started by the Filipino people themselves to give way to their own national language as their tool of education, and real freedom and independence, (at least in language and culture) so that the Filipino State will at last acquire a better share of that attribute called “national sovereignty”.
The present ruin of the Philippine economy, and the doormat situation of the Filipino State, —-threatened as it is into becoming a narco-tate—, calls for a solution such as the one recommended even if our politicians may still remain as incurably pro-American at their own risk, of course.
Filipinos in general have nothng to lose after all. Anyway, with compulsory English, it is only a few Filipino betrayers and scalawags who can get rich through corruption (i.e. political power) in order to somehow avoid the moral suffering, the actual poverty and the miserable penury imposed upon the majority.
The rest of the Filipino people, as it is now seen and known, are simply being condemned to abject poverty, and stultifying ignorance due to the frequent miseries of over-expensive electricity, over expensive and scarce food, no medical attention, lack of potable water and a deadly environmental destruction through pollution.
In the end, the majority of Filipinos must ask themselves what economic relief, what social benefit can they really get from talking in a mostly fractured English now known as Taglish? Employment as over-sea domestic maids, drivers, entertainers, prostitutes, —-including the child and male varieties?
This degradation upon which the ordinary Filipino job-seeker is forced into, has even turned the name ‘Filipino’ and ‘Filipina’ to mean ‘domestic help’ or servant in the English language.
Is this the reserved place for Filipinos in the English speaking world?
Can the Filipino people ever recover the national honor they once had when they were still a predominantly Spanish-speaking people? Or, will Filipinos need to become totally Chinese in order to recover some honor for themselves?
In time, will Filipinos ever be able to recover their State from its U.S. WASP mortgagees that come as foreign banks and neocolonizing impositions and conditions? Or, will Filipinos just go on being stateless even in their own country because economically marginalized through a whimsical globalization in un-phonetic English?
*** Webmaster’s Note: Guillermo Gomez Rivera is a Premio Zobel awardee, a member of the Academia Filipina and former National Language Committee Secretary, Philippine Constitutional Convention 1971-73.