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PÁTRIA O MUERTE - ¡VENCEREMOS!
(My Country or Death!  We will Conquer!)

By ADELBERT S. BATICA

In a message dated 10/14/05 11:11:30 PM, Abatica@hotmail.com writes:

Mano Profesór –

It has taken me this long to ponder on a response to you, given your many attachments to all areas of the Philippines, from Aparri all the way to Jolo.  David's work might not be an easy read, but it's still worthwhile reading, we favor partition or not.  At least he offers the why's and wherefore's of partition, instead of simply waving his staff a la Moses and ordering the Red Sea to part.  Well, the guy's no Moses, so he has to extensive research, logic, history, social analysis in order to support his controversial position.  And he, of course, being Bisayá - looks at the current state of the Philippines (not exactly pleasant) from a Bisayá perspective.  So do I, even if I'm Manila-born and grew up in Samar.  After all, jus soli doesn't fly in the Philippines - it's jus sanguinis.  Both my parents were Samareños, we spoke Waray at home (sorry if I'm politically incorrect, but political correctness is for the Khmer Rouge types) wherever we went - Manila, Cagayan de Oro, and back to Samar.  But I grew up in Samar, so I look at history from a very Samareño perspective.

Samar is either blessed or cursed, Magellan and his conquistadores first landed in what was to become Islas Filipinas - on the Samar island of Homonhon (and the natives treated them to tadyao after tadyao of tubá - it's in Pigafetta's "Diary").  Samar also played a vital role during the 200-year Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, supplying the Crown with timber from our forests and men to build those galleons.  On top of that, San Bernardino Strait - the body of water that separates Northern Samar from Matnog, Sorsogón - was the passageway for the galleon coming or going to Acapulco.  It was the kastila's early version of "globalization".  To put it simply, those kastilas did live off our sweat for so many years.

Spain flourished, benefited from the group of islands Villalobos baptized "Islas Filipinas".  And won souls for the Catholic Church, and in cases where the friars couldn't propagate the faith - they were at least propagating the faithful, thus increasing the number of devotees.  So you see, España was bad, bad, bad maderpaker.  But that was more than 400 years ago.  In Basay, we were lucky to have the Jesuits as the first missionaries, the Jesuitas stayed for 200 years - from the 1580's up to the time they were expelled as a consequence of the "Paraguayan Insurrection (when the Spanish Jesuits in Paraguay taught the indios to rebel against the Crown in the 1770's).  Kastilas were bad, but Jesuitas were good to Basaynons and indios.

Then came the 1896 revolution, led mainly by provinces in Luzon.  It was a tagalong revolution for all intents and purposes, until the ilustrados hijacked it.  Regardless, the Luzonians still led the revolution whether it was a plebeian at the helm, or an ilustrado.  Fine.  You can scan Samar history from 1896 to 1899, and you won't find a battle worth noting against the kastilas in Samar.  It was as if we were so cutoff from the action in Manila and Luzon.  At least Cebu and other Visayan islands were seeing some action.  But guess what?  When the Kanos, who were the first to capitulate to them?  Samareños?  Moros?  Nope.  The Warays and the Moros fought on, even when most everybody had given up on the First Philippine Republic.  They fought the gringos tooth and nail, even when the very people who were crying "Revolución, revolución" had given up the fight.  Tama, Mano Profesór - our forefathers were "Hindi tatakas, hanggang matodas".  And yet - this image of the brave Samareño - the Samareño with cojónes does not sound appealing to the politically correct crowd.  But yes, they were "Handang matodas" - for the First Philippine Republic, which most everybody up North had given up on.  If our forefathers had been swikit and segurista, they might not have fought the gringos, after all, Manila or Luzon did not even give a damn about them.  But fight they did - for Nonor, for Iroy nga Tuna.

And these days, with most of the action taking place in Imperial Manila - which provinces are the most neglected?  Samar, Moroland.  Ours is a backward island, and exploited by outsiders.  Who have raped our forests and our mines and poisoned our rivers?  Samareños?  No, because we don't rape our own very mother.  But Samar has hosted quite a few maderpakers from outside, especially from North.  And now that I'm edging towards Martinez' position - there many guys out there who are questioning my patriotism or "nationalism" (whatever that means).  There are some who appeal to my patriotic sentiments, almost to the point of saying, "If you support partition - you're not Filipino."  Well, I support partition because I am more than Filipino.  Filipinas was a Spanish invention, Samar is not.

I haven't given up on Samar, and never will.  Neither have I given up on the Philippines, in fact, "partition" is the avenue to our survival.  Or to put it simply, if Imperial Manila is the cause of our morass and the ship of state...why can't we jump ship instead of sticking it out with a sinking "Titanic"?  Why be dragged into the bottom of the ocean, because of the folly of a central government that's been around since Spanish times?  And why keep demonizing Spain, but hang on to her invention called "Las Islas Filipinas"?  Can't we reject an invention, an aging, wornout machine that's no longer relevant to us - us Samareños, the ever forgotten ones?  And what kind of visible representation from Manila (or Luzon) do we have right now - the Philippine Army with its GHQ in Manila, reporting to a commander-in-chief in Manila, who in turn reports to Uncle Sam or at least one who tows Uncle Sam's line, especially when it comes to the economy (read:  "globalization, WTO, IMF-World Bank"?  And on the side of the fence, a rebel army with Samareño foot soldiers but key commanders originally from Luzon, guided by "brilliant" revolutionaries holed up in the Netherlands?

Samar has become the playground of the contending forces.  And who are caught in between?  The true-blue, Waray-speaking Samareños.

But just when I say "partition", suddenly - the very same folks who enjoy demonizing Spain to the point of a major orgasm say, "nationalism", "patriotism", "Hold the Philippines together, even if it's an invention of Spain - that's our history, Spain is part of our heritage."  Ano?  First demonize, then rationalize?  Which is which?  Can't we at least be consistent - regardless of which position we take?  Nacionalismo raw, but when push comes to shove, "Mabuhay, Uncle Sam!"  Nationalist and pro-imperialist at the same time?  Pro-"pure" Filipino and pro-Kano at the same time?  Pro-national language, a/k/a - but da speak da only da "fliponics" - sagol-sagol, halo-halo, hindi ko na maintindihan kung nag-iingles ba or nagta-tagalog?  If Spain were truly evil - then so be it - reject, once and for all.  Hindi iyong demonize España, then take refuge in Filipino "nationalism" when the pro-partition guys call for a referendum on a key question/issue.  Be nationalist and pro-Kano at the same time.  Where's the logic there?  It violates one of the key rules of Logic - nihil potest esse et non esse, SIMUL et sub iodem respecto.  "Nothing can be and not be at the SAME time and under the same respect."  One cannot be pregnant and not pregnant at the same time.  (But maybe some can be a Man and Woman at the same time).

Why don't we just admit to ourselves that one of the biggest pains in our asses is Imperialism...and colonial mentality?  Why is it hard for us to do manual labor or housework in the Philippines, why are many of us señorito/señorita in the Philippines, but wouldn't mind picking grapes or being DH in Italy, or being nannies in England?  Is it because the Master is White?  Why do we knuckle down and freeze in the presence of, and in the shadow of the White Man - and be meek as sheep, and at the same time act as the worst SOB's to our fellow Filipinos, especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder?  Is it inferiority complex, or "internalized oppression"?  We can't lash out at the White Master, so we either become flaggelants ourselves or flog others at the pillar.  Where's our "amor propio"?

Why was it easy for Filipinos to submit the U.S. Bases Amendment and Parity Rights to a plebiscite in 1947 - when such an act was tantamount to committing hara-kiri and selling out our national sovereignty and bartering our national patrimony?  Inferiority complex, or stupidity?  AND WHY, OH WHY - IS HARD NOW TO SUBMIT THE QUESTION OF PARTITIONING TO A REFERENDUM?  Is it because the pro-partition just might win?  What are we so afraid of?  Why did Filipinos have the cojónes to vote "Yes" for the U.S. Bases and Parity Rights?  Because it was a vote for Uncle Sam?  So, we grow cojónes when it's for Uncle Sam's benefit, but those same cojónes shrink at the mere thought of "Partition", a survival mechanism for us, especially those forgotten Warays and Moros?  What are we afraid of?

Imperialism is one of the roots of our suffering, but refuse to come out and denounce it as a royal pain the ass.  What are we afraid?  A referendum on Partition, a referendum on a system and a modus vivendi that has not worked for us, and has only made matters worse.  Why are we afraid to submit the issue of partition to the will of the electorate?  Submitting it to a referendum is no guarantee the proposition will win, not all Warays, not all Cebuanos, not all Moros and others are in favor of Partition.  The Partition proposal could lose in a nationwide referendum, or it could win.  But how would we know how the majority of Filipinos feel about it, if they are not allowed to freely express their will at the voting booth?  What are we afraid of?  That a truly democratic exercise might produce a result that's not to our liking?

Were our parents a bunch of cowards for allowing a plebiscite on the Bases and Parity Rights in 1947?  Or were they a bunch of seguristas, who allowed a plebiscite - knowing fully well that there was no way for the "No" vote to win?  Or did they lose their cojónes in the presence of Uncle Sam?  So, was Rizal right when he said (through "Simoun"):  "Es menester renovar la raza...Padres cobardes sólo engendrarán hijos esclavos, y no vale la pena destruir sólo para volver a edificar con podridos materiales."  "It is necessary to renew the race...Cowardly fathers will only beget slave sons and it's not worth destroying only to rebuild with the same rotten materials."  Must we keep rebuilding with the same, old rotten materials?

WE have the power to chart our own destiny as a people.  We have the power to decide.  WHAT ARE WE IN POWER FOR?  For the last time, what are we afraid of?  WE have engaged in elections over and over again, even if those elections have only been able to produce clowns and jerks?  Are we perhaps afraid that, if it's a truly honest, clean, orderly referendum this time around, this truly democratic exercise just might be the lightning bolt that will break our chains and set us free? Is the Freedom to Decide...pure folly and something to be afraid of?

Let the debate on Partitioning end once and for all - at the voting booth.  And win or lose - I'm going home to Samar, for better or for worse.  That, in a nutshell, is how I understand love for "Iroy nga Tuna".  I can't love Samar or the Philippines "pure and chaste" from afar.  I'll die and be buried where I was lifted up.  Without Samar, I won't be me.

"An Iroy nga Tuna matam-is pagpuy-an, bisan diin siplat puros kasangkayan.  Aanhi an hingpit nga at kalipayan - hira nanay, tatay, pati kabugtuan.  Lugaring mahiblong, ha dughan bati-on inin FILIPINAS DAYUHAY URIPON, ay tuna - nga ak natawuhan, hain daw an hingpit nga at katalwasan?"

"How sweet it is to live in one Motherland, where friends are everywhere.  This is where I find true happiness, mother, fathers, siblings dear.  It pains the heart to even think, that the Philippines has always been enslaved, O Land of my Birth - where is true Freedom?"

To the Brave Waray Warrior:  "Adton uripon nga nayon, labis mapait pa kay han kamatayon!"  "A people enslaved is a fate worse than death!"

And Rizal:  "¡Y ora por ti que véas, tu redención finál!"  "Pray for yourself, that you may see the hour of your final redemption!"

Pátria o muerte - ¡Venceremos!

Respectfully,

Adelbert S. Batica

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 Last updated: 05/26/2013