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Nationhood

Nationhood
Ronald Roy — 2012 October 11
Going by Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy, Philippine democracy is a government of Filipinos, by Filipinos, and for Filipinos—a principle underlying the Filipino peoples’ sovereign nature which President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III recognized when he declared in his inaugural speech on June 10, 2010: “Kayo ang boss ko!”
It seems ill-fated that public servants (people elected, appointed and hired in government) have had since time immemorial the penchant for serving their interests ahead of the peoples’ welfare, and there is one sure reason for this: Filipinos in general do not have a sense of nationhood.
A sense of nationhood comprises two aspects, to wit 1. one’s commitment to sacrifice his self-advancement for the betterment of his community, and 2. the public servant’s duty to serve the general welfare over and above his personal interests. No nationhood exists upon failure of either.
A sense of nationhood fills a Filipino with pride that he is a Filipino. It is a characteristic that stands out in international competitions, such as in sports, mathematics, songfests and film-making. When a Filipino team or individual is adjudged the winner, suddenly we beat our breasts while chanting anything Filipino.
Before flying home to the Philippines from Los Angeles to cap his weeklong official trip to the United Kingdom and United States on June of this year, President Aquino personally gave singer apl.de.ap and “Idol” runner-up Jessica Sanchez—both in fact true-blue Americans—the “royal audience” in expression of national pride because of their Filipino lineage.
Parenthetically, we even overdo our idolization, as in the case of our hero-worship of Manny Pacquiao who, at the zenith of his boxing popularity, was even deemed by not a few idiots as a potential president of 90 million Filipinos. In any event, the name “Pacquiao” has become such a household buzzword that his wife, brother and others anointed by him are running for public office in the midterm elections next year.
Needless to state, our sense of nationhood is likewise kindled when we as a people are embroiled in a war with a foreign country, or are otherwise pushed to the edge of it, as in the unresolved territorial disputes within the ASEAN Region.
But while we generally stand as one in the international scene—and that is no great shakes because other peoples do the same—we do not do so in the domestic scene.
At home, we are not Filipinos. We are Tarlaqueños, Samareños, Ilocanos, Bisayans, Muslims, Christians, Moros, Peninsulares, Indios, Batangueños, etc. We speak over 80 native dialects, and sometimes resort to English for better clarity in interactions. The affliction of disparate mores, not to mention the scourge of crab mentality, appears to be upon us like a hex.
Is it all because of the geological anomaly that our homeland consists of over 7,000 islands? Singapore is among the politically and economically better managed countries in the world. Is this because it is a small and generally contiguous city state, with some 54 smaller islands and a population of only around 5.1 million people? Is it because its political system is authoritarian?
Florence Lim, a self-avowed admirer of Ferdinand E. Marcos’ vision of a “new society” which he called “bagong lipunan” submits that the strongman’s vision would still be achievable in an autocratic setup.
Well, autocracy has long been out of vogue, Florence. The fact that Marcos’ experiment failed is the best argument against its revival. But a “new society” is achievable, perhaps not as envisioned by him, but as a nation of Filipino citizens profoundly imbued with the two-aspect sense of nationhood.
To clarify further the point, Florence, do you think a statute will ever be enacted to breathe life into the constitution’s disdain for political dynasties? Do you think our legislators are willing to sacrifice self-interest by legislating themselves and their families out of power? What is power anyway but its intoxicating potential to beget itself? Ayaw pa nilang aminin na masarap na masarap kasi ang nakaluklok sa kapangyarihan!!
And what sucks just as malodorously, Armand (Betts), is that—I don’t know if the Aquino government will admit this—despite the fact that the Bangsamoro peace plan is as certain a failure as the sun never rises in the west, here we are non-Moro taxpayers, being eyed under the plan to finance the Moros’ massive development projects only to realize, AGAIN, the futility of peace with people who scorn our “masipag” work ethic and culture of mutual trust, who worship a different deity, who have a notoriety for breaking the peace through their incursive breakaway splinter (kuno!) groups as a prelude to a renegotiation… ad nauseam!!
Armand, the term “Bangsamoro” alone, which means “country of Moros”, clearly implies a Moro nationhood distinct from Filipino nationhood. If peace has not worked for the Irish and the English over the past decades despite their religious and other cultural kinships, what makes one think it will work for us and the Moros?
Frankly, we could be wasting time by not considering the option of war with our Moro brothers from the south. History teaches there is nothing wrong with waging just and righteous wars, especially when everything else has failed to win the peace!
Let us recall that St. Joan of Arc led the French armies against the English in the Hundred Years’ War, relieving besieged Orleans in 1429 and ensuring the enthronement of Charles VII. We recall likewise that in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, the Crusades were launched by medieval military expeditions to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims; and that it was Richard the Lionheart who led the Third Crusade, defeating Saladin of Arsuf in 1191.
Truly, as the 4th century Roman Empire writer Vegetius put it: si vis pacem, para bellum—if you wish for peace, prepare for war.

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