One Hundred Years of Philippine Women’s Leadership

Originally authored on January 26, 2019

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world!”

Compared to other parts of Southeast Asia, women in the Philippine society have always enjoyed a greater share of equality which predated the coming of the Spaniards. Based on the context of Filipino culture, standards, and mindset, the concept of gender equality already existed.

Women before could become village chiefs in the absence of a male heir. They could achieve status as medicine women or high-priestesses (Babaylan) and astrologers. Whether some Filipino men are willing to admit it or not, women wield considerable authority, the housewife in particular.

BEGINNINGS

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says "Francisca Tirona Benitez Epitomized the ideal woman she believed every Filipina should aspire to be: one who has successfully combined the art of homemaking and the pursuit of a career and still be of service to the community."

In June 9, 1919, through the vision of seven far-sighted pioneering Filipino women educators and civic rights leaders, Clara Aragon, Concepcion Aragon, Francisca Tirona Benitez, Paz Marquez Benitez, Carolina Ocampo Palma, Mercedes Rivera, and Socorro Marquez Zaballero, the Philippine Women’s College was founded with the assistance of the prominent lawyer Jose Abad Santos who drafted its constitution and by-laws.

A Painful Recall: Battle of Manila (February 3 – March 3, 1945)

Originally authored on February 1, 2019

Did the Americans destroy Manila in 1945?

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“It was a firebath! All around us there were explosions and fires, the best imagination of hell one could get.” Manila was being destroyed from inside and out. Men, women, and children retreated below ground where conditions inside cramped air raid shelters deteriorated as the hours turned to days. Bunkers built to house a single family at times held multiple. “We lived like dogs”, as recalled by an American internee in Santo Tomas.

The immediate objective of Americans in 1945 was to rescue the POWs in Cabanatuan and the internees at Santo Tomas. Once this was achieved, the Americans turned their attention to Manila, and this time, avoiding civilian casualties was no longer a concern. Some historians put the sole blame for Manila’s destruction upon the general’s ego and hubris; that MacArthur had to prematurely launched the assault on Manila so that he could personally trumpet the city’s liberation as his crowning achievement in fulfilling his “I shall return” at the earliest possible moment.

Federalism: Entering into the Future, Remembering the Past

Originally authored on January 23, 2018

Historical facts were obviously omitted or deliberately hidden in our history books. Until when can they be sidelined?
History reveals that federalism had long been desired by our forebears which had long been clamored by many regions and provinces.

No less than our national hero Jose Rizal had advocated in his time that the Philippines should be a federal republic. After his death, Aguinaldo pursued Rizal’s federalist idea which explains why the flag of the revolution and First Philippine Republic had the three stars within the triangle representing the major island groups constituting the archipelago as a federation.” (Historical Basis of Federalism, Rita Jimeno)