I remember this line from the Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pilipinas which we recited every flag ceremonies when I was still in elementary. I don’t really know why it is not being recited anymore today in flag ceremonies or flag retreats. Upon reflecting on what to write in this paper, I came to realize that the line from the oath speaks a lot about the priority of things whenever we take a pledge to the Philippine flag. Noticeably, God comes first, then to men, then nature and lastly, to the country. In relation to the topic that we have discussed in this subject, I have found a proof on the validity that pagka-Tao takes the order of precedence as higher than the pagka-Pilipino.
Pagiging tao is first had than pagiging Filipino. When we were born, what came first? We have become human first, and then we become Filipino. In the phrase, being Filipino, being comes first then Filipino. We need to “be”, we need to exist first then be qualified as this or that, Filipino in this context. Being a Filipino is just a consequence of our humanity. Being a Filipino I just a label given to us because of our geographical location in this planet. Being human is more than just a label; it is a recognition of a presence in the world. Indeed, the Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pilipinas is a well-thought oath which carries in it a philosophical insight of humanity and “Filipinohood”.
Today, we still carry with us, as a country, the problem on how to unite all Filipinos, having one mind and heart for the good and betterment of country. We have always faced the problem on geographical make-up of the Philippines as being an archipelago which has created a regionalistic kind of mentality. Another problem is religion; since most of the people in Mindanao are Moslem and the people from Visayas and Luzon are Christian, this adds up to conflicts. There were lots of initiatives that have been pursued already. One of these is through the use of media in order to awaken national consciousness. One concrete campaign, I suppose, was the series of videos which we used in our phenomenology class last two years ago. The video was about a description of a typical Filipino and his culture. One of the things the video was telling about was; hindi ka Pinoy kung hindi ka nakakain ng balut, your name is repeatedly said, like, Jun Jun, Lyn Lyn, Ging Ging, etc. nagmamano ka sa nakakatanda sa iyo and etc. The music video of Biyahe Tayo sang by various Filipino singers, was also there in order to present the beautiful sceneries and rich culture of the Philippines. The same theme applies also to the paper place mat that Afrique’s uses. I believe it seeks also to campaign and awaken national consciousness and Filipino identity.
Not to be desperate about these attempts, but it seem to me that these progress slowly and the effect, I don’t know too; probably, a bit weak. I think there something we are missing. In my analyses, base from the perspective that being human is first had before being a Filipino, is it not awkward to have a campaign with the theme on being a Filipino or Filipino identity and not on humanity or personhood? Are these campaigns jumping off from a not-founded-thought? For me, the campaign for social transformation to unite the Filipino nation should start from the foundational structure of our existence, that is, our humanity, our personhood. If our humanity and personhood is stable and that which is considerably good, our being Filipinos follows also. If we understand well our capacities and limitations, strengths and weaknesses, potentials and tendencies, and we act on these things rightly; probably, Philippines will not be like this and likewise with all the Filipinos. I think this is something most of us have missed. We have jumped off from an erroneous start. Maybe we have missed this because, the Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pillipinas is not being recited anymore in schools; I don’t how precise my statement is, but maybe.
There is still much hope for unity and social transformation. It starts from our correct and profound understanding of our humanity and personhood in the context of our being a Filipino.