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The Filipino Insurgent

The Filipino Insurgent image
Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
February
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

[Copyright, 189, by the Author.] . I. Dweiling in a genial clime, wheTe a kindly Providence has placed ready at hand the means of subsistence, it seems that nature had intended that the Filipino should be docile, tractable, hospitable and kindly disposed. Indeed the natives of the Philippine Islands posseas in a measnre these virtues, but centtiries of oppreasion have made them in the main revengeful, suspicious, often treacheror.s and sometimes as cruel as the Spaniali, from whoru they have learned lessons in brutality and crime. It is a hard matter to fathom the character of the native Filipino. He ïas been a mysíerious factor to all civlized races; with whom he has had to deal. The Spanish have been unable to 'athom liim in all the years oi' their dealing with him. He has a mind of lia own and is keenly sensible to opjression. He íh, too, not proof against ;he flattery of the world, and, bast of all, loves position and prestige. It i doubtful whether tliere is a man iii Aguinaldo's arniy who has not some mark of rank. Alruost every man claims tobe a colonel, a major or a captain. Perhaps a lieutenant or a sergeant or a corporal will be enongb rank for a few of the lèsser personages. Under Spanish rnle the natives were anxions to be made petty rulers in the outlying towns, and until the recent insurrection broke out these positions were much sought after by them. The native Filipino, whether Negrote, Tagal or Igorrote, thinks for himself. He can love with all fervor, and he can hate as can no other race, He is not slow to forget wrongs, and when his enemy is once within his power he shows no mercy. This was shown at Cavite, at Bacoor, at Paranique and elsewhere, when, a few ïnonths ago, some of his tornier oppressors were placed under his power through conditions resulting from the destruction of the Spanish fleet and the reduction of fortifications by the guns of Admiral Dewey's ships. The horrors enacted at these places have already been told to the world. The retribution of the Filipinos was swift and sure, and in the short time which elapsed between the reduction of the works by our fleet and the landing of our marines the streets of these places literally ran with Spanish blood. The eonrce of most of the native nprisings can be traced directly to the Spaniards themselves. Too lazy to do their own work. they employed natives to perform it for them. Native soldiers were employed in the Spanish army at the same time, and all the while these intelligent natives were permitted to familiarize themselves with the Spanish maladministration. Excessive taxes, cruelties of Spanish soldiers in the enforcement of unjnst Spanish laws, excesses of officials of church and state, were originally responsible for these native uprisings, and after they were inaugurated there were continual barbarities of Spanish rule which kept these natives in constant rebellion against unjust laws. Here in the Philippines the Cuban horrors have been duplicated a hundredfold, and these abuses have gone so far that, even were wc aisposed to permit it, Spain could never reclaim these islanda. Out timely nrrival relieved her from the further humiliation of defeat at the hands of the revolting natives, as there is little doubt that sooner or later, through fair means or treachery, Manila and indeed all the Spanjsh possessions here would have fallen into the hands of her rebellious snbjects. For orer three centnries they have been in nusuccessful conflict with the fierce tribes of the interior and those of the smaller islands of the group. Through all these years the native tribes have baffled the Spaniarda at every point, aud had onr interference not cut short the snccessful operations of the nsurgents about Manila it ia difflcult to teil what the outcome would have been, for the insnrgents were making great inroads npon the Spanish defenses about Manila. But it ia not aolely in the insurgents now in arms that the trouble in eubduing the Philippines lies. On the vavious islands there are no lefis than 23 native tribes, either of the Negrote or aboriginal race or of pagan Malays, and of tlie.se 8 are Mohammedan and 17 pagan. In all the years of Spanish rnle but little has been done toward the civilization of these wild tribes. They have sent out many expeditions frora Manila to subdue them, but nearly all of these have vesulted in dismal failure. Next to Luzon, Mindanao is the largest of the group, but Spanisb rule has never been asserted here except at a few points along the coasts. The natives of Mindanao are especially bloodthirsty. The Moslem popula tion of Basilan, Suln and Tawee-Tawee are still independent. In some parts of Luzon and in Panay and Samar there are wild Malay tribes who fight with spears and poisoned arrows, and in past years thousands of Spanish soldiers have met death at their hands. In Mindoro and Palawan the Spanish have been more snccessful than they have elsewhere. The varied native racea are known as Negrotes, Mohammedans, Malaya and pagan Malays, and all the various tribes can be brought under one of these classes. Probably the most warlike are the Moros, who are found chiefly on Mindanao and the Zebus. But in some instances they have taken kindly to Spanish rule, and with proper treatment it will be possible for us to make orderly people of them. The question of dealing with the na: tive tribes is only one of the many racial problems to be met. These native classes compose not more than one-half the population of the islands. The mixed native and foreign class, the mestizos, are an important factor in the Philippines. The Chinese and Spanish mestizos form a large proportion of the population of these islands, especially of Luzon, and these classes are quite intellectual and are the leaders in the latest as well as other recent revolts against Spanish rule in Luzon. It must .not be thought for a moment that since Manila is in our possession the Philippines are taken. As yet we control only a few dozen miles of territory about Manila bay of the entire 114,000 square miles of land einbraced in this vast oriental archipelago. But a very small portion of these islands has yet been touched by our arniy. The greater section is still in possession of armed insurgents and flerce native tribes, whose intentions toward us are not yet fully defined. With that suspicion bom of centuries of opprsssion and cherishing dreams of independence, the followers of Aguinaldo do not look kindly upon the occupancy of the United States, doubtless because they do not understand the beneficent purposes of our mission in the archipelago. There is no disconnting the courage of the native soldiers. As shown in their battles with Spain, they are hard and f earless fight ers. Aguinaldo 's army is now fairly well equipped and provisioned, but, of course, would be no match for our troous in a figrht. Manila.