The Ruling Class in Preconquest Times
Early part of sixteenth century, before the colonizer came here in the Philippines, we do not have a national unit of government but we have just a small unit that was called barangay, which was a family-government structure. Barangay was divided into three classes: the maharlika (nobility) , timawa (freemen) and the aliping namamahay at aliping sagigilid (serfs and slaves). The nobility (maharlika) is the one who is in the ruling class. They were the datu which means “leader” and in other region also being called rajah, hadji or sultan. Being a datu was inherited but a member of maharlika can also take over by their wealth and physical ability. Next to the rank of nobility is the timawa. They paid no taxes, owned lands, and were from the word “free” in freemen, they were free to select their own occupations. However, owed loyalty to the datu, accompanying him in his hunting of fishing trips and also went to war with him. The aliping namamahay were the debt payers who worked for the maharlika or the timawa. They have no land and animals; they built their homes on lands owned by their superiors. Aliping sagigilid or the slaves were the household servants and sometimes they could be sold. They could attain freedom by purchase, marriage and voluntary action of the superior. Being aliping namamahay and sagigilid, children can obtain it from their parents.
When the Spaniards colonized the Philippines it brought an end to the supreme power of the ruling datus over their respective authories. The highly fragmented nature of the barangay governmental units facilitated their invasion by the foreigners. The political control was the enconmienda system. Under this system, vast areas of lands were distributed among loyal and deserving Spaniards who known as enconmienderos. The indios (as the Spaniards called the Filipinos) who lived inside the area were placed under the control of the encomienderos were forced to pay tribute. But the Filipinos were not favored about this and Spaniard had to use force and religion among Filipinos.
During the American regime, there was much progress in our country. The Filipinos enjoyed a better life under America than as a colony of Spain. The standard of living was raised. Agriculture and industry were developed. Transportation and communication were improved. Domestic and foreign trade expanded. Health and sanitation were promoted. Education and religion marched with the times. What Spain could not do in over 300 years, the United States did in less than 50 years.
Political system is structured by the people who are in power. Here in Philippines, our government is in Democracy, people have rights. We Filipinos are the one who choose the people that was well-suited to rule our country, from presidential and representative. They have different responsibility to supervise in our country from the peace and order to maintain, setting up economic problems, managed the needs of the Filipino people, create a law and many more.. They are the one who is in charge where to use the money of the Filipino people, that’s why nowadays many of our society are very interested in politics. There are lots of problem involving the politics. Political dynasty was the very common political issue, our country was under the control of the notable families or landed elites, as we can observed from the Presidents of the Philippines almost all of them came from notable families. Majority of the people in politics use their position just to steal the money of the people in our country. Just like the PDAF issue known as pork barrel issue nowadays while the longer it takes to investigate the person involved was widely discover.