Last Updated 17 Dec 2022

A Conquest for Reforms That Resulted in an Unfinished Revolution

Category Andres Bonifacio
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If the history of the Philippine revolution at the Spanish colonial era was the topic, a lot of the contemporary Filipino nowadays especially and specifically students, including I, will mention about the story of the KKK, the contributions of Andres Bonifacio and Jose Rizal. These character or characters will always be part of the discussion and these are the subjects that will always be highlighted most of the time in this specific part of the Philippine history. Most of the people will not waste their time on knowing the detailed version on how Andres Bonifacio, the Katipuneros and the natives became enlightened in the situation that they had, how they became ignited and started the uprisings.

In addition, a lot of people also does not know the specific notable works of the propagandist especially Jose Rizal that inspired the natives to seek for their freedom. In other words, a lot of people only know the fundamentals and basic information of these subjects/characters and does not know the bigger role they play in the Philippine history.

I will start by discussing the propagandist. Mabini insisted in one of his work entitled 'La Revolucion Filipina', that the La Solidaridad became the voice of the natives in the Spain since the remote government in the archipelago is filtering the true aspirations of the natives and make it appear to the mother government that the natives is happy and contended with the colonial regime and rule in the archipelago.

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The propagandist aspire to enlighten and inform the Spanish mother administration in Spain about the true conditions of their colony. Inclined to this, the circumstance implied that the movement also has the intention to the expose the maltreatment, anomalies and corruption that are being committed by the Spanish officials on the natives in the archipelago. The La Solidaridad propagandist, somehow became the voice of the Filipino people/natives in the Spanish mother government in Spain, because The Spanish remote administration in the archipelago together with clergy that are assigned/appointed in the Philippines during the Spanish era is hiding the information about the cruelties, the true aspirations and endeavours of the natives.

The supposedly officials that are appointed by the king of Spain that are task to evaluate and look for anomalies and wrong doings that are happening in the archipelago through the residencia, had became manipulated and covered by the appointed officials themselves (Corpuz, 1957). These actions of manipulation that happened became the main reason why the maltreatment, anomalies, corruption and cruelties became rampant and evident throughout the islands.

It appears in the La Revoltion Filpina that the Propagandist aspiration especially and specifically Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcello Del Pillar and Jose Rizal was to exposed the true conditions and aspirations of the natives. This implies that the La Solidaridad main tasks or agenda was to inform and enlighten the Spanish government in Spain or serve as the voices of the natives. This is the main reason why the propagandist especially Jose Rizal entails in their works their endeavours for reforms and eradicate the hostilities and maltreatment of the Spanish clergies and remote administration in the Philippines.

The purpose of these endeavours is for the natives of the archipelago to enjoy the rights that are being enjoyed by the Spaniards citizens, and if these aspirations happened and had been attained, cruelties and inhumane actions of the Spanish clergies and remote administration in the Philippines will be eradicated. In addition the movement aspire to spread enlightenment and greater liberty for the natives.

Graciano Lopez Jaena through his work entitled Fray Botod exposed the immoral actions and anomalies of the clergies. In this work of Graciano Lopez Jaena he mentioned different scenarios that manifest the anomalies and wrong actions of the clergies such as, corruption, cruelties, violence and hypocrisy.

The work of Marcello Del Pillar entitled the “Monastic Supremacy in the Philippines” exposed the role of the clergies on why the relation of the Filipino natives and the Spaniards deteriorated. In this work of Marcello Del Pillar, he explains how the Spanish clergies portrays themselves to the Filipino natives as their saviour from the tyranny and maltreatment and hostilities of the remote administration. They manipulated the feelings of the natives by portraying to them that the remote government is cruel and abusive in their powers.

On the Spanish remote administration in the archipelago, the friars portrays themselves as the tool that will constrain and prevent uprisings and rebellion from the natives. The clergies utilizes the fear of the government on the uprisings and rebellions that may occur to accumulate the power that they are seeking for.

The clergies had been granted great power by the remote administration to control and somehow govern in each and every cities through their parishes. The clergies by being strategic had been able to get the power that they want from the remote government and at the same time, they are also able to get the loyalty and sympathy of the natives.

In one of the work of Rizal entitled 'To the young women of Malolos' Rizal aspire empowerment and enlightenment for the women in Malolos. He mentioned some of the immoral practices of the clergies and compare it to the actions of Christ, so that the natives could realize that the actions of the friars and the things that the Friars told them to do is not the will of God, such as being bribed, blinded by money. Through this the natives specifically the women of Malolos will be able to be enlightened on how the friars makes them blindly obedient.

In this essay he also ask those mothers to raise their children courageous and not a slave. Rizal says 'As long as they can keep a Filipina mother a slave, so long will they be able to make slaves of her children' this implies that in this work wanted the mothers to break the chains of slavery and this could be attained if the mothers will be enlightened and empowered.

In his work entitled 'Indolence of the Filipinos' Rizal justified the reason of the indolence of the natives. Rizal entails that before the Spaniards came the natives is having their own source of livelihood, they had a system that are being followed, basically saying Rizal is trying to imply that the natives have their own identity, livelihood and self-determination before the Spaniards came. By telling these stories, Rizal wants to prove that the Filipinos are motivated to work during this time before the Spaniards came into the picture. Basically saying Rizal wants to show and prove that the Spaniards are the main reason why the attitude of the natives changed, from being motivated and hardworking to becoming indolent.

In addition Rizal insisted that 'Indolence' is part of human nature and therefore inevitable. Rizal explains and justified in this essay that the Spaniards remote administration and clergies ignited this indolence and that is why evident amongst the natives. Rizal blamed the maltreatment, lack of labor rights gratification of the remote administration and the unreasonable indoctrination of the clergies. Although he also pointed out the mistake of the Filipinos for the continuity. RIzal also consider the factor of the climate, but his main point in here is that, the Filipinos is not that indolent and the one that makes them totally indolent is the maltreatment, lack of labor rights gratification and clergies doctrines that causes the lack of enjoyment and purpose to function and due to this they lack the motivation to do their task and give their labor.

Through the work of Rizal entitled 'Philippines as a century hence' he entails points and prediction that are prerequisite so that the Philippines will remain under the colony of Spain. For Rizal the enlightenment of the natives about the maltreatment throughout the archipelago is inevitable. Due to this reason Rizal implies that the Philippines would remain a colony of Spain if and only if the natives will enjoy greater freedom. Rizal implies that, if the things that he mentioned had not happen the natives will seek for independence through bloody means.

Another important point of this essay is about the transformation of the political sphere in the country. The Spaniards should grant the rights that the natives are longing for. Rizal endevours is clear that he wants the Philippines to become a province of Spain so that the natives will enjoy the same rights as the Spanish constituent is enjoying and through this work he projected the true aspirations and endevors of the Filipinos. He insisted that if the endevours and aspirations of the Filipino people will not be granted, the Filipinos will seek for bloody means.

The most notable work of Rizal is Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. In Noli Me Tangere he exposed the anomalies, corruptions, cruelties and maltreatment of the Spaniards through the story of Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara. El Filibusterismo on the other hand has a different approach compare to Noli Me Tangere because El Filibusterismo story gave emphasis on the political and the revolution aspect due to the cruelties, anomalies, corruption, hostilities and inhumane acts of the Spaniards. It appears that the Noli Me Tangere novel of Rizal aim to exposed the cruelties of the Spaniards to enlighten and educate his readers about the uncertainties under the Spanish Regime. On the other hand, El Filibusterismo aims to ignite the natives to do the actions of seeking for their rights and greater freedom.

The target of the La solidaridad is mainly the Spanish mother government. The evidence to this can also be found in the work of Apolinario Mabini, he entails that he is one with Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcelo Del Pillar and Jose Rizal who aspire for political assimilation to make the Philippines somehow as a province of Spain, so that the natives could enjoy the liberties and rights that the Spaniards are enjoying. The work of the Ilustrados especially Jose Rizal inspired and ignited some of the natives specifically some members of the Katipunan (Reyno, 2012). Even if the movement's target is mainly the Spanish mother administration and not the natives, some of the works of Rizal specifically, the essays and novels of him caught the attention of some of the natives and some are directly intended for the natives.

Natives like Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto had been ignited and inspired by the messages that the works of Rizal conveyed. Andres Bonifacio himself created poems such as “Ang dapat mabatid ng mga Tagalog”, that is about the situation of the Filipinos before and during the Spanish colonization, Bonifacio implies that before the Spaniards conquered the archipelago, the natives are having a sustainable and abundant life that had been ruined when the Spaniards came into the island with a promise of comraderies and prosperity. In addition, Bonifacio pointed out that the aspiration for prosperity and liberty can be attained through the unity and cooperation of the natives alone. Bonifacio other work entited “Pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa” entails that there is no greater love than the love for the own country, and that everyone should be willing to laydown and sacrificed owns life for the love for the country.

Emilio Jacinto also does a lot of works but I will focus on his work entitled 'Liwanag at Dilim' in this work of Jacinto he entails that the natives should not be distracted and get fooled by the 'Ningning' that the Spaniards are showing to them, he also suggested ways of enlightenment on how the natives could get out of the darkness and be in the light, the light that he is saying here is enlightenment and freedom that natives should seek for.

The works of Bonifacio and Jacinto embodies the principles of the works of Rizal such as the awareness of the cruelties/maltreatment, seeking for reforms desire for freedom and love for country. The intentions of this works is to bring enlightenment and awareness.

The works of Rizal became the guiding force or manual of the natives (Pugay, 2012). This is the main reason why the works of Bonifacio and Jacinto conveyed the ideas of Rizal so that the works Rizal may reach the majority of the consciousness of the natives. Since a lot of natives are not literate and educated enough to understand the point and ideas of Rizal. The reason is because Rizal's works before are translated in other language and therefore not translated in the language of the natives, such as “Indolence of the Filipinos”, “To the young women of Malolos”, “Philippine a century hence”, 'El Filibusterismo' and 'Noli Me Tangere'.

In addition, the works are all in the forms of essay and novels, therefore these works will not reach a lot of natives due to the formality of the works and the lack of education and literacy that is rampant and evident among the natives, and this is one of the critique to Rizal, it appears that he do not fully understand the conditions and situation of the natives (Pugay, 2012). The job/role that had been done by the natives like Bonifacio and Jacinto is that, they convey the message of the works of Rizal in a way that the majority of the natives could understand, be enlightened, became ignited in the situation that they had.

Unfortunately, with all the circumstances that had been discussed from the start, it appears that the natives misinterpreted the true aspirations of Rizal for the country. Rizal suggested in his work entitled 'Philippine a century hence that reforms/change should start from the upper-class, in the circumstance that had been mentioned the upper class is the Mother government of the Spain. Rizal implies that change from the upper-class or the mother administration of the Spain will be peaceful and sustainable unlike the change through revolution that will be unfolded from the natives.

Rizal simply implies that the revolution that will start from the natives will be bloody, violent and therefore unsustainable. The revolution from the natives is exactly what happened to the Katipuneros, they choose to uprise and revolt instead of choosing the peaceful means of achieving freedom.

I am not saying it is the Fault of either Rizal or the Katipuneros. Even if the natives misinterpreted the aspiration of Rizal, it still somehow became successful because of the realization, enlightenment, and aspiration to seek for freedom that had been attained by the natives through the work of the Ilustrados particularly on the works of Rizal.

The Philippine revolution and the native’s conquest for the Filipino nation became unfinished because the Americans came into the picture, and their aspirations and endeavours to the archipelago are clearly for their own benefit (Mulder, 2012).The Americans interference/colonization is the most crucial factor and somehow became the deciding factor for the failure of the revolution. The main reason is because they do not care what will be the implications and negative effects of their aspirations to cultivate us in the way that they prefer, and this reason is the main factor why the revolution and the birth of the Filipino nation had been interrupted, disregarded, and stopped.

Due to the indoctrination of the Americans in every aspect of the natives lives particularly on the education, politics/governance and culture, The Filipinos are not the one who discover and unfold their own identity (Hutchcroft, 2000). The discovery or the unfolding of that 'Filipino nation' is supposedly to be determined and discovered by the Filipinos alone but due to the Americans desire of hegemony in every aspect, sector and actions of the Filipinos during the time that the Americans have conquered the island, it reciprocates to the shortcomings and failure of the natives conquest for their Filipino nation aspiration, because it had been hindered and interrupted.

The work of the Ilustrados indeed greatly contributed to the Philippine uprising/revolution and the attempt to unfold the Philippine nation.

Unfortunately, as implies in the account of Mabini, it appears that the heads of the revolution and the natives failed to sustain and continue the aspirations and endeavours that had been started by the Ilustrados. The Ilustrados indeed is one of the most significant roles in the revolution and building of the Philippine nation.

The Ilustrados serve as the foundation on both the Philippine revolution and the conquest for the Philippine nation. They serve as the foundation of the uprising in the sense that they make the natives realized be aware of their situation. They ignited the natives by making them realize the maltreatment, cruelties and uncertainties that they are experiencing and so that, they should never be contented to the their situation, they should resist, they should aspire for change and they should seek for their freedom. Since the result of the uprising will reciprocate to the outcome of the conquest of the Filipino nation it implies that the Ilustrados also serve as the foundation into the birth of the Philippine nation.

However, even if they became the foundation of the revolution and idea of Philippine nation, I will conclude by having a claim that the unfolding and birth of these Philippine revolution and Philippine nation became underdeveloped and premature, it had been stuck and it had not been as promising as it supposed to be.

A lot of uncertain factors both external and internal reasons brought the Filipinos uncertain results. The struggle within natives themselves is very evident in the statements on the account of Mabini and the crucial interference of the American colonization resulted in the failure, and prematurity of Filipino nation. The failure of maintaining and sustaining the revolution is reciprocal on the failure of the conquest for the unfolding of the Filipino nation.

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