Philippines: A Century Hence
by J.P. Rizal
Reading through the essays of Rizal, one could say that the hero is not just as great writer but a great Historian as well. His essay, The Philippines a Century Hence presents a radical prophesy of Rizal of how the Philippines would be through the century. Rizal presented a clear idea of how our Motherland will end up centuries later proposing that our country will end up in either of the three ways;(1) that the Philippines will remain to be a colony of Spain but will be in good terms with it’s captors;(2) that the Philippines will try to cut the ties of our Motherland from it’s captors through violent means;(3) and lastly that we will be colonized by another country.
The thoughts of Rizal were not only based on his mere imagination, he tried to read in between the lines of the History of the many nations to come up with his recommendations of how the Philippines would look like. Rizal saw how the uprising in different nations started and thought that if Spain continuous to ignore the cries of its inhabitants, there will come a time that the oppressed will come into arms to recapture their lost freedom. In his essay, Rizal exposed the several issues that concern our country. The abuse of human rights, the lack of freedom of the press and the lack of representation in the Spanish Cortes are the key points discussed in the lengthy essay of Rizal. According to Rizal, the Filipinos
must enjoy liberty of the press so that they can voice out their cries against the cruelty of the Spaniards. In addition, they must also have a representative in the Spanish Cortes to “make known to the government and to the nation whether or not their decrees have been duly obeyed. Lastly, Filipinos are also seeking for justice and for human rights.
Given these things, Rizal warned Spanish that if they wouldn’t stop their abuse to the natives, they will plot separatist movements putting justice into their own hands.
As a reader of Rizal, we could see in the essay his urge to put freedom in our land through peaceful negotiations with the Spanish Government in Spain. I noticed that he didn’t view Philippines as an independent country being organized by the natives. Rizal just wanted liberty from Spain and not total separation. He believes that “you can achieve freedom without being independent” for he still doubt the extent to which we Filipinos
know about running our own government. The essay, although doesn’t want peaceful separatism, pledged to be equally treated and heard by its colonizers which I think is just as good as having an independent country. I guess what Rizal was thinking was that between a chaotic but independent country and a peaceful and glorious one under the government of Spain, he would rather choose the latter. The lesson I presented must also be pondered to be applied in contemporary times. Even if deny some allegations, most of our countryman still suffers because of the “Padre Damaso” and “Padre Salvi” in our government. Even within us, there are things which we ourselves do that make life difficult for the other person. Learning to live together and prospering as a nation will help build a strong foundation or our motherland.