Forced Labor

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FORCED LABOR

In the article entitled “Forced Labor”, Gregorio F. Zaide and Sonia M. Zaide showed us that Filipinos as vassals (servant/slave) of Spain should render forced labor known as polo aside from paying tribute and complying bandala which is selling of other farm products to the government. The polo was a compulsory labor imposed by Spanish colonial authorities on adult Filipinos males. Males between the ages of 16 to 60 were required to render service for 40 days in a year. This service was in the form of doing repair work in shipyards, bridges and roads and the construction of other establishments. Later, there are some Royal Decrees implemented about this matter but they were never been implemented in the country because of their obvious reason.

One of the first that came to my mind when I began reading the article was the condition of the natives or brown Filipinos. I was filled with a feeling of either sympathy or pity on the part of my fellow countrymen and anger or hatred towards the abusive Spaniards. I felt a sympathy for the Filipino males because they were the only who do the dirty job of building or repairing the public works. For the reason that among the well-to-do males were able to escape this kind of manual labor paying a sum of money in order to be exempted from the polo. I felt pity on them because this kind of service caused a great suffering among the Filipinos. Specifically, many of the natives got sick or died due to overwork and they were neither given a nominal salary nor fed properly because the corrupt officials pocketed the money and deprived the workers of their rice rations. Aside from that, the work took many males away from their families for a long time resulting a great misery and lonesomeness on the part of their families. And I burned with anger for the men responsible for such oppressive unconcern. I felt hatred for the tyrannical rule of the Spaniards, the governor general as well as the local officials who...
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