June 12, 1898, our country has been declared a free country — free from it’s captives, free to create its own government and free to exercise what its people believe in.

And today, we will be celebrating our 114th year as an independent country, as a free country. But did one century, a decade and four years of independence bring us as a nation into maturity or are we still mere captives of the colonial past? Have we really as country valued the independence our forefathers has fought firmly enduring the pain which in most parts lead our forefathers to sacrifice their lives for what they fight for. What did they fight for?

EQUALITY. I believe when Dr. Jose Rizal wrote his famous books Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, the book was not only intended to ridicule the church but more so Rizal was reminding us that no matter what, there are no classes in community. Letters A, B, C or even D and E can coexist with each other. Just because you are A you have the right to step on E or more importantly, we are not a caste system so why do letter labeling matter? Fast forward to 2012, has the country achieved equality for its people? As the rich become richer, are the poor starting to live a sustainable life? As men achieve greater heights in whatever field they pursue, are the women given the same right to pursue their rights? Is the government doing its best to uphold the rights of its people or just for a privileged few? Are the basic needs of a human being provided for?

SAFETY. Freedom came with a sovereign challenge for us to protect our nation and even to provide each and everyman a surrounding conducive for living. Sometimes too much freedom costs our country’s safety. There are times that we have evaded even the simplest protocols to move forward with personal agendas not withstanding that we are compromising the whole system. Does being free allow us just to do anything without conscience? Are the people safe enough to be living in their places without any fear that at a certain point in their lives any person may just snatch they very breath that they have?

JUSTICE. Is justice rendered in an honorable manner? Ethical, principled, conscientious and truthful or every judgment rendered has its price tag? Does everyone have access to the country or only a select few can only gain justice because they have the guns to be in court? How accessible is our judgment system nowadays? How fast is our justice system in expediting judgment in different issues confronting our nation?

FREEDOM OF SPEECH. I guess this is one of the important things that I want to discuss that really goes with independence. Just because we are an independent country, you are free to say anything. THAT I DO NOT AGREE. Just because you think someone said a very bad commentary, you can call him a GAGO already. And you give the excuse of freedom of speech. As much as we want to defend what we believe in, where did our respect for one’s individuality go? Where did the our belief that each has his own opinion go? Debates would always come up when it comes to expressing oneself but I believe one can express oneself without even destroying another party. Expressing oneself in a manner to state what we believe and not stepping on someone else’s. Be it a PRO-DIVORCE, ANTI-RH BILL, PRO-GAY MARRIAGE, ANTI-MINING, have we heard all those voices and listened intently to what they stand for and respected it or we keep ridiculing them?

And so I leave this question hanging for you to analyze our current situation and to decide and how you would act to help move our country forward. Tomorrow marks another year in the Philippine Independence, I myself am still hoping for better days for our country and from the looks of it, it may take another century or so but here’s to wishing that we all live a life that would leave a legacy to the next generation to shape our freedom and move our country to mature thus creating a more suitable environment for the Filipino people to live in.

Happy 114th Independence Day my beloved Philippines.