Building Philippine Government and Nation

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Building Philippine Nation

“Ang mamatay nang dahil sa’yo” -Philippine National Anthem

The Philippine 19th-century political thinkers and patriotic men such as Jose Rizal, Marcelo Del Pilar, and Graciano Lopez Jaena contributed to express and narrate the significance of Philippine historical events and to respond from the colonial system of Spanish regime. To further enlighten the minds of Filipino generations, and to trigger the souls of the masses from the depressing Spanish occupation during that time. The conqueror succeeded in claiming the Island from fifteen to nineteen centuries (Agoncillo, 1962, p.

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72). On this basis, the Philippines became the possession of the Spanish colony and extended its domination by the ruling of an absolute friar. According to Agoncillo, Spanish have the opportunity and certainty to colonize the Philippine; wherein he assumes that it’s uncomplicated (easy) to colonize an archipelago state that is lacking essential authority and forces.

Since the arrival of the Spanish colony, Filipino treated them as friends. The Spaniards guaranteed Filipino men the humble promises. Bonifacio said in his essay “Pag Ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa” that the Spaniards intention is to come, to help the country out from the ground of being undeveloped. However, Bonifacio condemned that the trust that was repossessed by Spaniard to the Filipino is just a mislead. Instead, Spaniard have deluded these promises and carry-out their black motives. Spaniards are obsessed with wanting to expand their resources to the Orient during the 19th century of economic development and maturation of the industrial economy. The Philippines from then is rich in agricultural resources, but the Spaniards hid it from them. Tagalogs and some provinces such as Cavite, Manila, etc. have felt the oppress, and pressure towards the corrupt and manipulating leading of Spaniard together with the absolute influence and controls of Friars towards natives.

Aforetime, Jaena produced an anti-clerical on his writing, the Friar Botod that depicts the behavior of absolute, barbaric, immoral, selfish, vulgar and abusive friars. Jaena seeing how the friars and the civil authorities brutalized the Filipino.  Who oppresses the rights of those Filipino children, women and poor. Through intimidation (frightening) revealing the concept of hell and charges individuals who disobeys the demand of friars by paying outlawed tax in return for heavenly promises. The colonial system has led the country to the concept of slavery in these four aspects. That has also been mentioned and pointed out, while I was analyzing the idea of  Del Pillar’s Monastic Supremacy of the Philippines.

So, First is the friars control and uphold the status quo of the country. Wherein , the Philippine government that time is dependent on the judgement and decision of the Friars (priest) before the execution of their action. The demand of the church is absolutely important in carrying out e.g. the formulation of policies. According to LeRoy (1903)  in the Philippines the system of laws or customs are administered by the councils of old men that are based on Spanish religious ideas. The problem is not about the idea of the church. But, the one who draws the power to deprive human rights. Friars are indeed a utility maximizer, they intervene and act as, to the government for their own interest to secure their own premise.

Second, the friars manipulate the people by creating a new form of devotion. The Filipino before are so devoted to Friars. At the point, that the mentality about “God is the Savior” has turned into misconceptions of many individuals. Such Dr. Jose Rizal who expressed the situation of the women of Malolos, who are forced to slavery to serve the convent. Serving the convent can be considered, but to maltreated women for the satisfaction of the friars is inhumane.  The parents of many young women in Malolos are forced then to involuntarily surrender. Wherein the friars threaten them and these showed the deprivation of human rights. These women and families are becoming blindly obedient to Friars. What the friars command, must be followed or otherwise they renounce the holy presence of God, and entirely embrace the hell of suffering as rendered by the Friars. The teaching of the Spanish priest ascertaining the power of God is not really the idea of God, but the intention of them (on the other hand this reflects the superiority of the friars, than to one who is considered superior for everyone).

Third, the implementation in regards to amortization of land and tax for a religious festival (corruption). To Jaena and Del Pilar, friars have taken advantage of the natives in terms of manipulating them (verbally) in exchange of their resources e.g. Friar Botod who asks for money from those favors. In example to this is the holy blessing and divine mass that is introduced to the people before and after his death. In terms of property, friars have demand for taxation. This kind of system continues to uphold the Filipino people’s right to live, to freely enjoy its natural land and must be free when it comes to labor and resources. Rizal has mentioned in his essay the Indolence of Filipino people that are labeled as lazy and weary. But, Filipino individuals are misconceptualized by Spaniards. Jose Rizal has argued that before the coming of the Spaniard, the Filipino were hardworking. The work of Filipino depends on the climate, that’s why they are to blame. However, Filipino have acknowledged this idea and tolerate themselves to do so. For the reason that the friars have superseded the rights of individuals and establish tax and demand that is not favorable to the common. The lessen the filipino appreciate their hard work has caused their continuous indolence (loss of motivation). It is possible, also to increase the numbers of poverty in the country and Filipino’s be urged to engage in rebellion against them.

Lastly, the abuse of individuals’ human rights. Such as how Friar Botod used his power to public mass through a demoralizing sermon, physical and mental abuse that was inflicted on women and other Filipino servants. That again, entreats individuals to proceed to the friars demands, also for Del Pilar.  Later in History, June 12, 1898 the independence of the Philippines was proclaimed at Kawit . Wherein, according to Agoncillo, it is the first time where flags have risen, as well as the composition of the National anthem. The succession of proclamation of independence the dictatorial Government was changed to Revolutionary Government. Aguinaldo thought this, of reorganizing the local government. However, it led to a struggle for the independence of the Philippines due to the moral death of Aguinaldo. In August 1898, the Spanish situation was already serious. American and Filipino had worked together to enforce large numbers of forces against Spaniards. America did help the Philippines to preserve the country and to promote peace. However, Aguinaldo was about to withdraw his forces. This action of the American military commander made Aguinaldo and his men realize the bad intentions of the American. So from then on, mutual suspicion took hold of each other.

After all the Filipino-struggles, many are in favor of reform. Filipino from the Archipelago have driven to respond in this abusive treatment of Spanish colonies. Katipuneros and Propagandist movements have voluntarily created. Both are passionate to maximize power, and unified in achieving people’s interest in the country and to reclaim the welfare of all. To Cullinane (2003) Filipino conjoined together and came up with the revolution that was initiated by the Katipunan in pursuit of independence. However, the initiative has caused those who are implicated in the revolt, and the intellectual and propagandist Rizal have been executed and jail.  Rizal, Jaena and Del Pilar who’s inspired national sentiments and boldly promoted reforms of colonial institutions, and relations have different beliefs from the Katipuneros (peasant brotherhood) who are impassioned to oust absolute ruler by the idea of a revolution that must be tolerated and executed by force and violence to achieve the end of Filipino struggles.  Milagros (1981) named peoples of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and other provinces in southern and central Luzon took up arms against the Spaniards in the year 1896-97, undaunted by the superior power of the enemy. Ilustrados assumes that war is not the solution for Filipinos stability and autonomy. But, the reform that was initiated by changing the top (government) to bottom (constituents).

These three intellectuals dealt with the immorality of Spanish Priests and fought for the rights of Filipino. Although, Propagandist Del Pilar and rest did not believe in independence. All they foresee as necessary, is for the Filipinos to embrace the reforms which could benefit them. Being a province of Spain for them is the approach of Filipino’s self-reliant. If we look upon the propagandist writings, the majority were directed to the conditions of the Philippines, to achieve the greatest goal of improvement. According to Agoncillo (1962) propagandist aims for the following: the Philippines representation in the Spanish Cortes, Expulsion of the Friars and Secularization of the Parishes, Equality of Filipino and Individual Liberties in terms of press freedom, speech and the right to have petition to the government and finally the Assimilation of the Philippines as a Province of Spain.

Insofar, the writings of Rizal just as El Filibustersimo and Noli Me Tangere are considered one of the grounds of the combat of Filipino against Spaniards, even though he is not beloved and a supporter of bloody-fights. From the beginning, Spaniards are not really in favor of teaching Spanish education or particularly the language to Filipinos due to fear that Filipino might understand, supersede beyonds its power and to rouse the consciousness of Filipino in large-extent against them. Although, Rizal and other ilustrados have been self-motivated and determined to learn. So he and other propagandists pursue and have (unintentionally) reached the heart of Filipino-nation.

According to Agoncillo, July 4, 1946 is the time when the Philippines entirely won its independence. But the war that devastated a large part of the country, specifically urban centers, that have caused serious social and economic problems. Indeed that Spanish occupation was a leading factor to trigger the revolution and force Filipino individuals to commence violent change.  The defeat of Spaniards that proceeded to the value of Philippine independence has rooted in the bravery of Filipino, like Jose Rizal. Its eagerness to repulse against the colonizer has become possible, thence, to the writing of this propagandist, who urged Filipino to strengthen their beliefs towards the country. For instance, the three great ‘Illustrados” who strive voluntarily in commitment to dethrone the absolute regime of Spaniards (unintentionally revolution) have led to a countless impact to encourage Filipino people to shovel the ground of lies and to seek for the truth within the proposed intentions of Spaniards, where to improve the knowledge and to advance the consciousness of every Filipino men. 

In the preceding years, from the revolution in the 19th century to now, the country is considered as an independent state with legislative bodies, who constitute a law and custom prioritizing the general will that preserve the interest of majority and, executive and judicial branches who execute the law against the foreign countries. Rizal, Jaena and Del pilar might not be right for the Philippines to become a province of Spain. Wherein, from then the Spaniards consigned their guns and the bloody loss of Spaniards to the fight during the time of Spanish-American Treaty to Spanish-Filipino war. The independent we have attain today, is just because the rest of brave and  nationalistic Filipino such as Ilustrados (Propagandist) and Katipuneros have cooperate to what we filipino enjoy today; the liberty from absolute rule. Some historians might be confused on how the revolution ended up (unfinished revolution) and from this time independence for me is still questioned due to our affiliation and being dependent on another country. As far as I know, Propagandists might have failed to construct Filipino nation by their time, due to their early death and execution. But the privileges and rights we experience today are all about the past. This future and presence will not be possible without the significant part of our Philippines history that shaping our liberties and cultivate the sense of patriotism over Filipino-nation. That history made us today.

Indeed that Rizal, Jaena and Del Pilar have not been successful in attaining their assumption. But in terms of building and constructing the Filipino-nation, these three intellectuals contributed in terms of waking the filipino soul to not just embrace and rejoice the privileges they have, after the colonization. But, also to continuously protect our land from the otherlands. The fight from then, has brought Filipino generations the sense of patriotism and the unity of the whole filipino, and that’s where i considered that Filipino is a nation, as we filipino come together to protect and fight for our nations.


  1. Agoncillo, T. A. (1962). Philippine history. Inang Wika Publishing Company.
  2. Bonifacio, A. (1896). Pag-Ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa. Panitikan ng Rebolusyon (g 1896): Isang Paglingon at Katipunan ng mga Akda nina Bonifacio at Jacinto, 141-144.
  3. Cullinane, M. (2003). Ilustrado politics: Filipino elite responses to American rule, 1898-1908. Ateneo University Press.
  4. Del Pilar, M. H. (1958). Monastic Supremacy in the Philippines. Philippine Historical Association.
  5. LeRoy, J. A. (1903). The friars in the Philippines. Political Science Quarterly, 18(4), 657-680.
  6. Milagros, C. G.(1981). Understanding Philippine revolutionary mentality.
  7. Rizal, J. (2019). The indolence of the Filipino. Good Press.
  8. Rizal, J. (1912). The Philippines a century hence. Philippine Education Company.
  9. Rizal, J. (1958). To the Young Women of Malolos. R. Martinez & Sons.
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Building Philippine Government and Nation. (2021, Oct 16). Retrieved from