The British royal wedding was a hit in the Philippine republic. It looked like it outshone Charice Pempengco as she made a name worldwide. It’s as if it knocked down the reception to Manny Pacquiao, only it didn’t yield zero percent crime rate.
It was like witnessing a modern-day fairy tale, its impossibility proved so. The royal wedding did not have any political significance and relevance to the country at all, except from being pure entertainment. But the hours spent by major television networks in the full coverage of the wedding – with some reporters even smirking over President Noynoy Aquino’s speech, and them saying, we’re finally back to the topic.
Even the President appeared so irrelevant then.
But why so much fascination?
The royal wedding was the dream. It was a breath of fresh air from the not-so-good news we have been hearing days before the nuptial.
With recreations of Duchess Kate Middleton’s elegant gown and re-conceptualizations of the similar wedding (expect one Filipino wedding in the next days to be laden with fancy hats), it seemed as though we are trying to live up with the British royal fantasy.
Unfortunately, with a nation like this, the dream of having a royal throne would have to be set aside and remain a fantasy. Because we don’t have much space for it.
It is true pre-Hispanic Philippines was a royal haven with sultanates all over the islands and royal weddings too. However, there remained only small spots of royalties found in Mindanao. In August 2009, two royal figures were pronounced husband and wife – former Rep. Didagen Dingalen’s daughter Bai Donna and Datu Jeng Ampatuan Macapendeg, nephew of Zaldy Ampatuan, a Maguindanao massacre perpetrator. It was named the biggest royal wedding in Central Mindanao, a Philippine Star online report said.
If there is a royal family to stand as figurehead, there is probably nobody but the sultanates. The Ampatuans belong to them.
Imagine a Filipino royal family, probably a sultanate, sitting on the throne in Manila, the Philippine capital making orders and becoming the nation’s figurehead.
The British royal family reflects the British men. They are role models and identity-builders. In an essay by Ben Aston, it is said that the British people could not live without the monarchy. Through the monarchy, they become fully British.
With modern-day Filipino sultans becoming war lords, it is difficult to see ourselves fully Filipino with their ascendancy.
Powers of the monarch and the president/prime minister are ought to be separate. With a royalty in the Philippines, the line looks so blurred.
The British prime minister is tasked to make and execute laws. The British monarch is even more powerful. In order to become a law, the Queen has to approve the proposal. The Queen can sack the PM. But the Queen still is only figurehead, not the head of the government.
A Philippine president, few years back, was seen as a ‘mother’ nurturing the needs of her child, the royal families of Mindanao. When they worked hand in hand, it would be hard to see the line that separates the power.
For how could the royalty sack the president if sacking the president would mean betrayal?
With the existence of the Filipino monarchy, it would be difficult for one to realize its full power. Moreover, it has always been the task of monarch to coincide with foreign powers in promoting tourism, peace, and welfare of its citizens.
A monarch must patronage charities. The Queen has over 600; the monarch, 1000. Can a Filipino royal family, with everything that’s buzzing around and with every factor to consider before a charity is born, support such a number?
With little transparency, anomalies, widespread corruption, and debt servicing, there is a long way a Philippine monarch must take in order to fulfill one of its main duties, if there would be one.
Most charities in the country are privately-owned and are supported by public figures usually in showbusiness, if not private individuals.
Furthermore, some of these charities are ethically questionable – much like the several partylist officially registered but do not function according to their duties well.
And there will always be pressure.
The British Queen’s roles include “providing a focus for national identity, unity and pride; giving a sense of stability and continuity; recognising success, achievement and excellence; and supporting service to others, particularly through public service and the voluntary sector.”
The Queen is able to meet people from every walk of life. She represents the nation’s mood in times of jubilation and of tragedy.
Of course there is no underestimation. As always, the nation shall help itself before helping others. High-profile celebrities have reached out the the most unimaginable charities because they have had enough of getting things for themselves.
Except for the fact that a monarchy is not necessary to look for our national identity, all of these could still be possible even without a royal family.
Nevertheless, congratulations to the newlyweds!