In today’s struggle for freedom

Published June 12, 2021, 11:33 AM

by Rom Mallick

Are we truly free?

Independence Day celebrations have become rather dull over the past years. This year, sadly, is no exemption, especially since the country’s holiday of holidays fell on a weekend—effectively removing the last thing most people look forward to every June 12, which is not having to work. 

It’s an intriguing bit about how we celebrate our “freedom” holiday: by not working. To a certain extent, that is quite telling. Every year, we celebrate Independence Day, but people ask: Independence from what? 

It doesn’t help that the occasion we choose to peg our celebration of “independence” was rather short-lived. Shortly after Emilio Aguinaldo declared freedom from Spain in 1898, the Americans took it away. There wasn’t enough time to truly enjoy that independence then and, perhaps, it’s affected how we view this freedom today. Not very many feel that we worked hard for it. 

Yet one can summarize Philippine history as a cycle of freedom and loosing that freedom and gaining it back only to lose it again. Some might argue that this cycle continues to this day. It is, after all, an everyday struggle, to keep this freedom that previous generations of Filipinos fought for, some with their lives. In order to not fall into celebrating Independence Day as just another holiday where we don’t work, we need to work every day to make sure that we keep the freedom that we have. 

And this starts by asking the question: Are we truly independent?