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The Soapbox Filipina | November 21, 2019

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Remains of the Past

Pier Angeli B. Ang Sen

rp_image20-324x500.jpgIt was three hundred years, of Spanish rule in the Philippines. The natives, the peasants, the Katipuneros and the masses, continuously revolted against colonialism and foreign dominion.

There were those, who wanted reforms from “Mother Spain”. There were those, who wanted all of the country back.

The people were divided and classified, through names and titles like, Mestizos, Ilustrados, Creoles, Insulares, Filibusteros and Indios. There were also those who fought for their rights to be called, “only as Filipinos”.

Some of our ancestors, spent their whole lives, changing the plight of future generation, fighting colonists and raising their bolos,  while there were also those, who just stood by and watched.

It was through our predecessors’ courageous deeds (or accidental acts of heroism, as some text books argue) that we now possess the privilege of being called “Filipinos”

But was this legacy valued enough?

In present times, those who plunder the land, are neither Spaniards nor any other outsider, but instead, Filipinos, themselves.

Yes, the very same people who are called by the name, which heroes acquired dying -“Filipino”.

They are also the same people, who, instead of answering the question, “Where the taxes went?”  gave counter arguments like, ” Bakit kami lang?”

Or those who muddled the issues on PDAF and DAP, with extremely complicated answers, for the ordinary Juan to understand.

When the questions that need answers, are and had always been :“Whose money was it really, anyway?’ and “where is it now?”

They are also the same parents, who raised children with major entitlement issues -flaunting their luxuries, on social media and justifying their acts with, “everybody is doing it.”
( “no, not when parents are public servants of this country and its people” )

Everything else relates to past events.

Filipinos today are once again, divided, by titles and names. That of the pork barrel kings, the PDAF agents, the DAP recipients, the other one and the 2016 potential candidates.

Now, do we also  stand by and watch?

Our heroes, whose outstanding merits reduced by this generation, into mere “faces in our money”, would not want the country that they died protecting, wither away.





Perhaps, the people’s money have faces of heroes, imprinted on it, for some reason.

As a reminder maybe, to those who might want to squander it. Though too weak a deterrent, for those without conscience, at least for a second, it may help them think and say, ” nakakahiya naman kay Bonifacio.”

Or once in a while, while looking at the Filipino currency, especially the 500 bills and 100 bills, leaders may realize, “nakakahiya naman sa mga ninuno ko.”

As history relates, it took lives, for this money to get to where it is today. ( though a big portion of it is now missing)

It is not as if, this has not happened to the country’s money before. It is not as if, taxes were not abused before.

It is more like the Spanish encomienda, happening again. The Philippines and its inhabitants, long time ago, were entrusted (encomiendar) to Spanish government officials.

These trustees or encomenderos, collected tributes, in the form of goods and services from the people. In exchange for collections, they provided the inhabitants protection and education.

But of course, such was not the case -for just like the present day PDAF and DAP, the tributes (taxes) were abused.

The people became slaves, while their lands were grabbed by the outlanders. The encomenderos retained their control on the Filipinos, who were then called ‘indios’.

The officials, were granted to lord over, the “natives”, up until the third generation.

These encomenderos by the way, needed not the specific training, nor the highest education, to run their encomendas, just the blessing of the one in power.

The Filipinos then, became beholden to their “conquistadores”, thinking they owed them, their churches and schools.

Now, why do all of those, sound so familiar? After hundreds of years, the Philippines still faces the same set of problems:

– deceitful public servants, who “crooked” their way again, as they found opportunities for personal gain.

– official, who were placed in power, to run a government that they know nothing about and a country that they have no love for.

– flourishing political dynasties (which unlike before, do not just end until the third generation)

– stolen taxes, therefore, the lack of school facilities ( as Rizal pointed out, in his time)

– a nation not knowing, where the “tributes” went ( what do we know about our taxes anyway, apart from them, being stolen all the time?)

– citizens, unfortunately, who think they owed government officials, their own country.
( fyi, our senators and congressman did not build those schools, nor did our mayors or barangay captains, our taxes did, or should have)


But of course, in contrast with the present day setting, the Filipinos during the Spanish rule, did not stop fighting hunger, poverty, and illiteracy.

They took out their bolos, ” matira na ang matibay.” They fought for their rights. They put their foot down and demanded for what truly belonged to them.

They fought back, like one determined legal wife, claiming back what is rightfully hers.




It is not as if, this was the first time we have heard this country talk about Illicit affairs.

In 1892, it was Ma. Paz Pardo de Tavera’s supposedly illicit affair, with a Frenchman that made her husband, Juan Luna, lose his mind and well, you know your history.

There was also the infamous “pamulinawen tape” of supposedly, one president and his american-actress mistress. The tape was broadcasted and played repeatedly at the premier state university.

Today, prime time television’s My Husband’s Lover and The Legal Wife, mirror controversies, which some television hosts, lawmakers, cabinet secretaries, chief of staff, military men and public officials, are entangled with.

Since we are a country intrigued with infidelities, why not learn from them, as a country and see the parallelism behind.

Once upon a time, they promised the moon for us. It was as sweet sounding as “will you marry me”, when they asked, “will you please vote for me? “

They sweet-talked us, into believing that they will love and serve this country, like no other.

We all were like beautiful brides, on their wedding days -looking forward to a future, filled with beautiful promises. Then, later on as faithful housewives, preparing food, scrubbing the floors, washing the dishes, doing the laundry and taking care of the children, hoping and wishing for the best.

Corrupt officials, like irresponsible philandering husbands, failed to provide the essential obligations -food, clothing, and shelter. So where is the sweet pledge of tomorrow? ( nowhere near today )

When life imitates art, dialogues would be teleserye sounding as:

Pinagkatiwalaan kita. Naniwala ako sa ‘yo, na aalagaan mo ako.”

“Hindi mo alam? Wala kang alam?” Hindi mo alam kung bakit naubos mo yung PDAF mo o saan napunta ang DAP?”

“Ni hindi mo man inisip ang sakripisyo ko sa araw araw?Sa traffic? Sa baha? Sa mrt? Para lang maka pasok at maka pagtrabaho?”

These corrupt officials, keep on doing, what they are doing, because like the archetypal image of wives, people turn the other way.

They deny the truth, even when it is happening right in front them. (‘been lied to, cheated on and obviously, robbed)

But the good news is, as all teleseryes and movies had portrayed, power has now shifted back, to the legal wife. She knows her rights and fights back for her and her children’s future.

We are the people, whom the trust and loyalty, of these public servants belong.

“Will people fight for their rights like any legal wife? Will they still be forgiving after having been cheated …of taxes? Are they contented with the less expensive bracelet, when they rightfully own both bracelet and necklace?”

As the people of this country, are being tossed aside and betrayed like legal wives, somewhere, the attention is given to, the other woman -the ever beguiling 2016.

2016, is the mistress who many government officials, past and present, are moon struck about.




Nowadays is a “latent tendency” for 2016. In this country, elections bespeak of endings and beginnings, of hellos and goodbyes, of hello Garci and goodbye FPJ.  

Majority of the voters, either sell votes or vote for looks and popularity, over and above a candidate’s capability, to run the government.

Sadly, the elections are tarnished with shameless vote-buying, fraudulent ballot counting and well, numerous body guards.

“Two years from now in May” will be the most awaited elections of all time. It is also where most of the stolen/missing taxes will show up next -as candidates buy votes, votes are sold and campaign materials are lavishly spent on. It will also be about the sixes. The sixth six-year termer or sextennial president since 1986.

But it is not a fair way to treat a country, like a piece of pottery -fashioning it, into the year that is yet to come.

Since 2016 is a hashtag that will never go away, may those who will eagerly run for public office, kindly think of this country first.

Before they seek, for a seat in government and scramble for the highest position, may they ask themselves,

“Will I have the courage and the true leadership to run this beloved country?”

“Will I stand tall or break apart, in the midst of a crisis, like wars, category 4 cyclones and 7.2 earthquakes?”

“Will I be fair to my countrymen and not run for office, because of the large amount of money like PDAF, DAP or incentives and bonuses involved?”

“Will I perceive graft, corruption, bribery as deadly sins?”

“Will I be fair to the future generation by teaching my own children humility and remind them that they have to act accordingly?”

“Will I stick to a vegetarian diet, and say no to pork?”

No fair to nag. No fair to blame-game. No fair to point a finger. But those people who admonished others with ” ssssh, tumulong ka na lang “, do not know that they have also “quieted down” social awareness. Keeping quiet, does not expedite things. ( like boxes of relief goods gone to waste)

The best way to help, is to speak up and remind those who need to be reminded that 1984 is a book, 2012 was a movie, this year is still 2014, so let 2016 be.

May we all learn from the lessons, of the past, right after 1898, when everyone in the Philippines, were first collectively called, as “Filipinos”.




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