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Ocampo’s speech, October 9, 1909

Saturday, October 9, 1909

Ocampo’s speech

Whatever opinions may be held as to the political views of the Hon. Pablo Ocampo, no one who listened to his speech at the banquet of last Saturday night but must have been impressed with the man’s earnestness and sincerity. His nobility was also shown in his frank and open appreciation of the people of the United States even while contending that they are wrong in withholding political independence from the Filipino people at this time. The bitterness which might have been expected was conspicuously absent.

Had Mr. Ocampo confined himself solely to voicing the aspiration of himself and his people for immediate independence his address might have left itself open to the criticism that is was of no practical benefit at this juncture, but he went farther than that and showed something of statesmanship in his recognition of one of the prime and pressing requirements of the situation: the necessity of the Filipino people arousing themselves to the changed economic conditions surrounding them and adopting themselves to their new environment. There was in that something of the frank facing of the fact—the acceptance of the condition as against the pining for the theory, which we think essential to the best interests of the Filipino people. As we view it, the leaders of the Filipino people are too prone to dwell on the things that might be to the exclusion of the things that are.

The per capita wealth of a people may not be the best guide to its political capacity, but, constituted as the American people are, it would mean in the present case a great deal to them in forming their estimate of the Filipino people and their preparedness to assume full responsibilities of self-government. It should also mean a great deal to the Filipino people themselves. More wealth is not everything, but in the world of nations today wealth is power and power is in a manner independence. And we do not hesitate to say that one critical time in their history had the Filipino people been a wealthier people they would come immeasurably nearer achieving and might even have achieved their independence under certain conditions.

The Filipino people showed their valor on the field of battle and they made sacrifices in behalf of the common cause. The same valor and the same self-sacrifice demanded and given in time of war are just as necessary now in time of peace, and their end is the same—independence or self-government. If independence was worth fighting for, it is worth working for.

A blunder worse than a crime, Editorial for September 25, 1909

Saturday, September 25, 1909

A blunder worse than a crime

IN SUCH category, we very much fear, must be included the action of the Chief Executive in cutting off the government’s advertising appropriation from El Renacimiento.

By the Chief Executive’s action the government is placed in the humiliating position of confessing that it has suffered from the periodical’s criticism. If there is any justification for the saying that “it is the truth that hurts”, the government is further placed in the position of admitting that the criticism has been true, and that the truth has rankled. The action of the government will be interpreted as a confession of weakness. And, far from crippling El Renacimiento, it will simply tend to strengthen it.

It is a common remark among Americans that El Renacimiento is the organ of the “demagogues” and “politicos”, but those best acquainted with that newspaper and its clientele know that it is much more than that—that it is the chief organ of the Filipino people, that it comes closer to them than any other, that it more truly voices their aspirations—that it is THE PEOPLE. The government is thus placed in the position of striking not only at El Renacimiento, but striking at the Filipino people, and using the money of the people to do it.

Further, the government is placed in the position of admitting that the money of the people spent in the form of advertising appropriations is nothing more than a bribe to the newspapers here to keep hands off the government. It is confessedly an effort to corrupt and stifle a free press. The presumption is that the government has its notices published for the benefit of the people, and, as there is no Filipino paper with one half the circulation of El Renacimiento, the government stultifies itself and by its action confirms the belief that the money is not spent for publicity purposes or as a business proposition but solely as a bribe to silence criticism and promote sycophantic adulation. Truly a most edifying picture!

Our wonderful Philippine University, editorial for June 26, 1909

Our wonderful Philippine University

Saturday, June 26, 1909–WE are hearing a good deal about a Philippine college and a Philippine university these days—too- much, in fact. It gives the impression of trying to make a wonderfully brave showing in order to cover up past deficiencies. It carries the suggestion of “he who excuses accuses,” and the accusation to which the present scurry gives point is that there has been an unpardonable lack of foresight and of preparedness.

Here are young men and women being graduated from the high schools and little or no provision has been made for them to continue their studies and fit themselves for their chosen career in life. Some say that the students who have now graduated from the high schools were led on with the promise that when they completed their high school course the university would be ready for them. Some deny this. But whether the promise was or was not made the obligation exists.

To take a concrete case. Here is a young man graduated from the high school who wants to take a course in law which will qualify him for entrance to the bar. What confronts him? So far as the government is concerned, a stone wall. The door of farther advancement is shut in his face. He is turned adrift like a derelict to shift for himself. With an education only half completed his position, for his purpose, is almost as bad as if he had no education.

In the case mentioned the young man found himself compelled to turn to Santo Tomas University and there suffer the humiliation of being reduced in grade and starting in a class which, had he gone to that institution in the first place, he would have passed two or three years ago—in fact he would have been graduated and ready to take examination for the bar. Do you wonder that the boy’s parents are disgusted and feel indignant at what it is hardly unjust to term bad faith and betrayal on the part of the government? And this case is not the only one.

The moral effect of such a condition is bad. Seeing and hearing of such cases the parents are saying to themselves they would better fight shy of the public schools and send their children to private institutions.

There is also a political effect even more serious. We have been looking to the public schools as the chief instrument in fitting the rising generation for the system of government we are here trying to establish. We are by so much defeating our purpose, however, when we abandon the schools’ graduates and force them into institutions where other doctrines are taught and other principles inculcated—doctrines and principles that tend to destroy what we are attempting to build. Such abandonment is not only shameful but to the extent to which it prevails, suicidal.

In reply we fancy we hear some one rise to remark that the Philippine university has been established. Some may dignify the present hybrid trinity of agriculture, veterinary science, and medicine with such a name but one might as well call a foundry, a sawmill, and the deep blue sea a battleship.

It is high time for the board of regents and our legislature or whoever is responsible to wake up and remedy this situation and give us a university which will be a university and not a name with dislocated pedagogical attachments called (save the mark) colleges!

De mortuis nil nisi bonum

AND it is with a feeling of profound reluctance and poignant regret that we must again lift our voice in protest over the recumbent form of our dearly beloved municipal board. It is in the matter of “the submerged tenth” down there in Tondo and Trozo. The rainy season is coming on and so are those inundations. And once again the poor and lowly must gird up their loins and wade through seas of mud and sloughs of despond in order to reach their humble dwelling places.

About a year ago the street railway company raised its track down there on Calle Azcarraga. Prior to that the thoroughfare was on about the same level as the adjacent streets and absorbed its share of the rainfall. But now it acts as a watershed and, while very convenient for the street railway company, it is very inconvenient for the tributary streets and their inhabitants, throwing so much more water their way and sinking them so much deeper in the flood every time we have a heavy rain.

The remedy? Well, our city engineers past and present have declared there is no remedy. Which is just what they did in the matter of the San Lazaro estate. Hundreds of thousands of dollars would be needed they said, to drain it, and they held up their hands in solemn protestation. And then came along a humble private citizen that professed to no knowledge of engineering except the fact that water runs downhill. And then the city engineer woke up and found that it did. And the San Lazaro estate was drained at very little cost.

Will not some unprofessional private citizen shake things up a little down Azcarraga way and unscientifically show our very scientific engineers how to remedy matters? If not, why, let the board furnish the humble inhabitants a few Noah’s arks, cheap.

Possibly that will be done “when the sleeper wakes”. Don’t disturb him!

The Poltroon in politics, June 12, 1909

Saturday, June 12, 1909

The Poltroon in politics

Recently the FREE PRESS has received several anonymous communications slandering certain persons who are candidates for political office. We also see that in Ilocos Norte scurrilous articles with no name to identify them have been scattered broadcast vilifying Governor Soriano and that the same thing has been done in Cebu against Speaker Osmeña. A more cowardly, contemptible, and treacherous method of conducting a campaign cannot be conceived, and the person guilty of it is on a par with the assassin who, afraid to meet his enemy face to face, waits for him in some dark place and stabs him in the back. In nine hundred and ninety nine cases out of a thousand, if the voters are wise, they will cast their ballot for the man whose enemies have to adopt such tactics in an effort to defeat him.


The Hon. W. Cameron Forbes, editorial for May 15, 1909

Saturday, May 15, 1909

The Hon. W. Cameron Forbes

Let us have the truth about the Mr. Forbes. Let us give him credit for working when he might retire into a life of privacy and ease. Let us pay tribute to his generosity if there be merit in a generosity which feels little or no loss in the giving. Let us applaud his close attention to his official duties and his indefatigable labors in the common weal. Let us admire his readiness to assist any deserving cause. Let us acknowledge some degree of business ability.

At the same time let us not shut our eyes to Mr. Forbes’ shortcomings. Let us admit that he has neither social charm nor a winning personality. Let us confess that his manner is unfortunate, that as a public speaker he does not impress or inspire his audience, that he seems to lack energy and aggressive force of character, that rumor commonly credits the staff of men with whom he has surrounded himself as contributing in very large degree to such success as he may have attained, and that he is never regarded as a strong man or one could successfully guide the administration here through a long term of trying years.

As to the “accomplishment of the man” we fail to see much so far. Some promise, yes, but little performance. As to “the trust and affection of all elements of the people” we simply say—buncombe!

We do not wish to be understood as feeling unkindly towards W. Cameron Forbes the man or Forbes the official. But we do wish to be understood as protesting against this intolerable atmosphere of cant and gush and benevolent misrepresentation when it comes to our men in office. Here the lack of an opposition has bred an atmosphere of complacent self-deception, of extravagant appreciation, of stereotyped and indiscriminate praise and panegyric.

Wither are we drifting? Editorial for May 1, 1909

Saturday, May 1, 1909

Whither are we drifting?

ONE of the most significant in our administration of these islands today is the growing estrangement between American and Filipino. Ever since two or three months after the Taft visit and the inauguration of the assembly there has been a steady drifting apart and the tension seems to be daily increasing. This condition is not imaginary. It is matter of comment among many Americans and Filipinos in touch with racial sentiment here, and former residents returning to the islands say they have been forcibly struck by it.

The causes conducting to this state of affairs are not obscure. In our political relationship there exists an inherent and prolific source of discord.

This political antagonism, sufficient in itself to make the situation one of exceeding difficulty, is intensified by racial antipathies. Between the two peoples there seems to lie a social gulf which is crossed in only rare instances. The average American, with whom usually rests the initiative, is not concerned about making a friend of the Filipino; rather does he enjoy showing his open contempt for him. The feeling of racial superiority, not always justified, will not down. Even where the American may display a perfunctory solitude for the Filipino and a desire to maintain social relations the latter, possessed of a pride equal to our own and gifted with a delicate intuition sometimes superior to our own, discerns and resents the veiled condescension.

Some free trade nonsense, April 3, 1909

April 3, 1909, Saturday

Some free trade nonsense

A GOOD deal of nonsense has been said and written about the Payne tariff bill. Among other things it has been charged that the United States, under the cloak of benevolence, was trying to exploit these islands, and, instead of making us a gift, was really trying to cheat us into a bad bargain.

What are the facts? We find the United States making us a donation, in that sugar concession alone, of more than $8,000.000. And in the tobacco concession, it offers us anywhere from $10,000,000 to $20,000,000. That’s what the American market means to us on those two items alone.

What have we to offer? Our total customs collections are only a little over $8,000,000 and we can’t offer even all of that in way of exchange. It is about time a little more light and a little less heat was thrown on this tariff discussion, or better, still, let us leave the whole matter in the hands of our good friends at Washington who know better than we what ought to be done. We are only making ourselves ridiculous.

• • •

Assembly not so bad

In a recent issue that attractive little periodical, Revista Popular, urges that fewer lawyers and more farmers be elected to the assembly, and reference is made to the United States. The Revista says that last year’s elections to the islands first congress resulted in there being returned 47 lawyers, constituting 58 per cent, as against 12 farmers, constituting only 15 per cent.

Turning to the United States congress we find that out of a total of 390 representatives in the last congress there were 238 lawyers or 61 per cent as against only 58 per cent of lawyers in the Philippine house of representatives. And the farmers in the U.S. house of representatives constituted less than 3 per cent, while here, as said, they constitute about 15 per cent. While we should like to see more farmers in the assembly yet it must be admitted that, in comparison with the lower house of the U.S. congress, the advantage is all with the lower house of the Philippine legislature.

The future language of these islands, March 13, 1909

March 13, 1909, Saturday

The future language of these islands

That, according to Dr. Barrows, the director of education, is English. He says that “if we may judge by what is taking place in all parts of the globe, the Philippine languages will disappear from use”. Nor is the day far distant, in Dr. Barrows’ opinion, when the Spanish language here will have to yield the scepter it has so long held. He says: “The new generation, which will be foremost in the affairs of the Islands in another ten years, will not use Spanish for ordinary purposes and their influence will be decisive. It is rapidly ceasing to be the medium of administrative correspondence. Probably its longest official use will be as the language of the Legislature”.

To those who believe the spread and dominance of the English language in the Philippines anything but a “consummation devoutly to be wished”, and who favor a Philippine language, the director of education holds out some comfort but no hope. The only two “supposable ways” by which a Philippine language might be produced, he asserts, is first, “by selecting one and suppressing all the others” and second, by “thoroughly fusing all these (native) dialects retaining the best elements of all”. And both of these methods he dismisses as “visionary”, the first because Tagalog, which has been considered by some as the probable “ultimate Philippine language” is spoken by only 21 per cent of the Christian inhabitants of the archipelago and because there is no considerable expansion of the Tagalog people into new regions, and the second because fusion is impracticable. Amplifying this latter reason the director of education refers to the “shortsighted policy” adopted by Filipino scholars interested in the development of the Tagalog language. To quote: “In a chauvinistic effort at linguistic purity, they are trying to eject all words of foreign origin and to substitute circumlocutions or words of new invention. The policy adopted by Tagalog scholars for ‘purifying’ and perfecting their own speech spells its ultimate sterilization and death”.

The conclusions reached by the director of education may not be relished by those who should prefer to see either Spanish or one of the native dialects the general language of the archipelago, but they seem convincing and unavoidable.