Revolt Against The Tribute

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The Revolt Against the Tribute, also known as the Dingras Revolt or Ilocos Norte Revolt was an uprising done over unjust taxes and the alleged abuses of tax collectors. The fed-up people of the area killed six would-be tax collectors. In order to stop the rebellion, the government pardoned the rebels and reformed the tax system.

The Tribute System

The Spanish government divided the Philippine Islands into repartimientos. It was a royal grant by the King to a subject of a certain amount of land with its native population. The subject would be given the right to collect tributo from these and enjoy under certain restrictions the benefits of their industry. Under the encomienda system, large bodies of Indians were let out and worked as slaves.

A colonist, who wanted a repartimiento or the capability to recruit the natives for forced labor, had to apply to the viceroy or the audiencia and state that the supplemental labor required on his land would provide the country with essential food and other goods.

Legally, the work period was not exceed two weeks, three to four time a year, and wages were to be paid. However, laborers were brutally treated.

The Revolt

Some natives, who were brutally treated, decided to abandon their villages to look for other regions or islands. This resulted to the sudden decrease in population of provinces after the Spanish occupation.

Revolts had been done continuously in 1583 and when Governor [[Santiago de Vera]] arrived in the Philippines the following year, he exacted the orders of the King to reform the system and punish certain encomenderos.

However, in 1585, the Pampanga natives and those from Manila who confederated with Mohammedan Malay traders from Borneo planned to fire the city and kill the Spaniards.

In Samar and Leyte, the natives were to pay tributes in wax. Its weight was to be determined with a false steelyard. When they had enough, they drove the encomendero from the island. Three years later they rose up in arms again.

In 1589, Cagayan started an uprising. The natives from Dingras, Ilocos also rose against the collectors of tribute and killed six Spaniards from Vigan.

Domingo de Salazar, the first bishop of Manila, who was known for his tireless work in espousing the cause of the Filipinos and for carrying out structural and charitable reforms, complained to the King of Spain that natives were being tortured or sold into slavery for failure to pay tribute. He also stated that the collectors even collected tribute from infants, aged people, and slaves. Furthermore, he added that many natives decided not to marry because of the tribute system and because some authorities kill children.

In David Prescott Barrow’s A History of the Philippines, he said that the local town leader was responsible for collecting tributes. If he didn’t come up with the loot, he’d be thrown in the stocks. If he tried to flee, they would take his family instead.

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