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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.