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"Happy Independence Day!" Now once in a while you hear me, and you will hear yourself say, "No way, what's to be happy about?" Independence is not freedom; it certainly isn't prosperity. We had more freedom and justice, not to mention prosperity, as an American colony.
The only Filipinos who are happy about this day are those who steal in government who would be investigated not by the "N" but by the "F" BI. After all, it was a Filipino public official who said, "I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos like myself than run like heaven by foreigners such as I am not."
If we were still a colony, a mother would not be hiding from the kidnappers of the children she ransomed except she also told the cops. Now the kidnappers are sending her messages that she and her children again are next and there will be no ransom demand.
If we were not independent, we would not have rolling blackouts in Mindanao. Our roads would not be potholed, especially if we remained a colony of Spain; our cops would dress in blue and in gay and summery colors. Sure we might have a local congress and our governor-general might even be brown by now. But our Supreme Court would have career judges and our Chief Justice would be Roberts who inherited his ancient wealth rather than amassed it overnight as a political influence peddler. We would not have two more years of basic education but our education would be as good as before Independence.
And no matter how big China got, it would steer very clear of our, note, our 7th fleet. And with America that close Vietnam would be free, Laos would be a nature preserve and Cambodia would have back the three million who were massacred by their countrymen.
But all told it is still better to have a country to call our own, though having said all that, I cannot think why. Oh, wait, I know: we would miss the privilege of paying the price of our forefathers' wish for a country of our own without showing us how to run an independent country because they didn't know either. Among our founding fathers was a politician who infamously said, "What are we in power for?" when investigated for graft and corruption. Corruption started in the Commonwealth. President Quezon started the tradition that has grown more vehement since of taking along rich businessmen on his junkets abroad to foot the bill.
But be all that as it certainly is, we are independent. Let us make the most of it. For one day soon we shall have the choice of rethinking that condition again, when gunships return to Scarborough with the choice to be a colony again. But our money will be the renminbi and not the dollar again. And like in World War II, I think the worst will choose the yen and the best again will pay with their lives to keep our Independence Day.
For the best do not measure independence by what it gives them but by what it costs them. This day should be called Memorial Day. For we celebrate not independence but the price the best paid to keep it.