Filipinos on Independence Day 2019: ‘We’re far from free’

Rappler.com
Filipinos on Independence Day 2019: ‘We’re far from free’
Are we – as individuals, as a people, and as a nation – truly free? Netizens don't seem to think so.

MANILA, Philippines – Independence Day has long been an annual ritual for reflecting on freedom.

But this year, recent threats to democracy, press freedom, and sovereign rights beg the question: Are we – as individuals, as a people, and as a nation – truly free?

Many netizens seemed to shake their heads at the thought.

For Edwin Subijano, the magnitude of the injustice Filipinos have witnessed in recent times says a lot about the state of freedom – or lack thereof – in the country.

Meanwhile on Twitter, user @SyLicoNgaAko raised rhetorical questions on freedom and its many manifestations, implying that the Philippines is far from being “truly free.”

 

‘Province of China’

Many saw Independence Day as the most appropriate time to talk about the Philippines being tagged a “province of China,” a reference to tarpaulins with this message seen hanging from various Metro Manila footbridges in 2018. (READ: Roque says ‘province of China’ tarp the work of government ‘enemies’)

In a more recent incident, a number of vendors were caught selling Chinese flags at Rizal Park just days before Independence Day, which the National Parks Development Committee said was a “setup.”

 

Twitter user @ronaldgem explained that “imperialists” still have a hold over the government to this day, deeming Philippine freedom all the more questionable.

 

Democratic freedom – or the lack thereof

While some raised the issue of foreign control, others tackled freedom in the context of free speech and democracy. Many highlighted the government’s intolerance for criticism and the rampant silencing of dissent.

Some also pointed out how the Duterte administration seems more and more authoritarian. 

For the privileged

Some, on the other hand, tackled freedom from a different perspective. While extrajudicial killings are prevalent in the slums, big-time drug lords remain at large. Politicians accused of stealing taxpayers’ money get reelected. (READ: Ghosts of an anomalous past: Cases, controversies hounding new senators)

Freedom, it seems to them, chooses only the privileged.

Here are more netizens’ takes on Philippine freedom:

 

This Independence Day, would you say that the Philippines is free? – Rappler.com

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