In this essay, I will explain how the political ideas helps in the building of the Filipino Nation. I will start on the background of the development of the nineteenth century and the nature or origin of Filipino nation, followed by the discussions on the political ideas of the illustrados and other writers and lastly is in its connection of building of the concept Filipino nation and if they are successful in its establishment.
The nineteenth century (1801-1900) is a time wherein many developments in trade economics, politics, social views and other aspects of life of people in the world. The Rise of Civil Wars due to the intense and rapid transition of governance: also, the rise of the liberal-democratic principles had also take charge in the start until the end of this century (Office of the Historian, n.d.). In the middle of the nineteenth century, liberalism is the ideology that starts to become influential, through which the other countries in Europe finally to settle to change their monarchial type of rule to a democratic one (Aubin & Herlihy, 2020).
In the Philippines, there are many changes that occur on the nineteenth century as well as the weakening of trade, while educational system provided by the Spain still is under the power of the Church given to privilege students (Hernandez, Borlaza et.al, 2020). The well-known “Propaganda Movement” in 1872 to 1892 become a mark through which the development on the essence of nationalism take place (Aquino, B. & Alegado, D., Ed). The strike of the movement stems from the killings of the three priests named, Father Gomez, Burgoz and Zamora on 1872 that has been killed for their alleged association on the “Cavite Mutiny”, the unjust killing of the priests led to a national battle for different political, social and economic transformations (Schumacher, 1997). Furthermore, this movement is where different values that serves as the world highlight of the nineteenth century such as the Western concepts of” rights as an individual,” even the idea of the “anti-clericalism” took place in the necessity of the Philippine situation to achieve independence or even the right to be equal in terms of benefits that is being given to the Spaniards and to which the Filipinos are deprived Harvard Divinity School, n.d.). The movement was pioneered by the known “ilustrados” or a group of individuals who are highly educated and part of the elite clans like Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena and others (Teodoro, 1999).
The ilustrados or the propagandists wrote several works that shows their social and political ideas that they propose to the Spanish government as well as to the Filipinos to wake the sense of nationalism and equipped to them the essence of service and sacrifice that must take for their Motherland, also the inequalities and the abuse of the Spaniards and the Church (Teodoro, 1999).
In Rizal’s famous novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo had contributes to the enrichment of the Filipino identity and the exploitation of the Spaniards absurdness and the intense social and political disparities. (The Editors of Encyclopedia Brittanica, 2019)
Noli Me Tangere also known as “The Social Cancer” that was printed on 1887 talks about the love of two characters, Crisostomo Ibarra, and Mara Clara however the novel emphasizes more on the different societal characters and personalities through which magnifies the Spanish Colonization, while the El Filibusterismo that means “Touch Me Not” is a novel published on 1891 which is said to be the result of the social cancer that infiltrates in the Filipinos mindsets and their identity(The Editors of Encyclopedia Brittanica, 2019). The other work of Rizal Entitled “The Philippines; A Century Hence” that was published in La Solidaridad on year 1889-1890, elaborates a more comprehensive lists of political reforms that he wants to propose to the Spaniards and the consequences of what would be the choice of the Spanish government; if the Spanish government accords to the reforms of Rizal namely the “Filipino representation in the Spanish legislation “that will make the laws and policies for Filipinos suitable and the “Freedom of press” through which allows the release of publications and written work as well as the toleration of thoughts and ideas; however if the Spain disapproves there will be “revolution” since the Filipino grievances are not being resolved, no matter what the Spain would choose Rizal insist that it will all falls down to the aim to “independence”(Rizal, 1889-1890).
While, in the works of Marcelo H. Del Pilar, he draws heavily on the abuses of the Church, in which causes the deprivation and the poorness of the Filipinos. The work of Del Pilar entitled “Monastic Supremacy in the Philippines “that was published on 1888, is a work that depicts the different laws and policies by the Spaniards to which favors greatly to the Spanish priests that makes the Filipino suffered from the injustices and the unequal treatment that mainly affects their socio-economic conditions. (Del Pilar, 1888). Del Pilar further that the power of the Church since it’s the source of Filipinos spiritual and moral norms, the friars uses the religion in sustaining themselves as well as their control on the political affairs in the Philippines.
Rizal visualize and conceptualize the idea of Filipino nation that constitutes the ideas of “good justice system” as well as the elimination of social and political flaws such as the abuses and the “corruption, thus expresses the idea of harmonious governance” (Reyno, 2012). According to Professor Majul, Rizal further that his view of the Filipino nation arose on the idea that in the Philippines during his time Filipino nation do not exist and he sees the Philippines as a “community” through which are under the power of the Spain and the Church, therefore he wants to imply that the concept of Filipino nation should not be based by the influence imposed by these powerful political and religious institutions but rather should have an identity of its own (Abad,1960). However, Constantino (2008) argued that the concept or the idea of Filipino nation is existing, although there is a really a Filipino nation, there is no manifestation of the idea of the “nationalist consciousness”.
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