Thursday, June 11, 2009

Philippine Declaration of Independence


The Philippine Declaration of Independence occurred on June 12, 1898 in the Philippines, where Filipino revolutionary forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo (later to become the Philippines' first Republican President) proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain after the latter was defeated at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

The declaration, however, was not recognized by the United States or Spain, as the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, in consideration for an indemnity for Spanish expenses and assets lost.

The United States recognized Philippine independence on July 4, 1946 in the Treaty of Manila.Independence Day was observed in the Philippines on the July 4 anniversary of this event until, upon the advice of historians and at the urging of nationalist politicians, President Diosdado Macapagal signed Republic Act No. 4166 into law on August 4, 1964, designating June 12, which had previously been observed as Flag Day, as the country's Independence Day.

The Proclamation Day

The declaration, in the form of a proclamation, in the presence of a huge crowd, was done on June 12, 1898 at the ancestral home of General Emilio Aguinaldo between four and five in the afternoon in Cavite el Viejo (now Kawit), Cavite, some 30 kilometers South of Manila. The event saw the unfurling of the National Flag of the Philippines, made in Hong Kong by Mrs. Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo and Delfina Herboza, and the performance of the Marcha Filipina Magdalo, as the Nation's National Anthem, now known as Lupang Hinirang, which was composed by Julian Felipe and played by the San Francisco de Malabon Marching band.

The Act of the Declaration of Independence was prepared and written by Senior Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista in Spanish, who also read the said declaration. A passage in the Declaration reminds one of another passage in the American Declaration of Independence. The Philippine Declaration was signed by ninety-eight persons, among them an American army officer who witnessed the proclamation. The proclamation of Philippine independence was, however, promulgated on the 1st of August, when many towns had already been organized under the rules laid down by the Dictatorial Government of General Aguinaldo. The final paragraph states that there was a "stranger" (stranger in English translation — etranger in the original Spanish, possibly meaning foreigner) who attended the proceedings, Mr. L. M. Johnson, described as "a citizen of the U.S.A, a Coronel of Artillery".

The June 12 proclamation was later modified by another Proclamation done at Malolos, Bulacan, upon the insistence of Apolinario Mabini, who objected to the Original proclamation, which essentially placed the Philippines under the protection of the United States.

Philippine Independence

Independence: 12 June 1898 (independence proclaimed from Spain); 4 July 1946 (from the US)

National holiday: Independence Day, 12 June (1898); note - 12 June 1898 was date of declaration of independence from Spain; 4 July 1946 was date of independence from US


The event was led by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in his mansion on June 12, 1898. The flag of the Philippines, which was made in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad was first flown in that event. It is also where the Philippine National Anthem, composed by Julian Felipe, was first played by the San Francisco de Malabon band. The song was played under the name Marcha Filipina Magdalo, later renamed as Marcha Nacional Filipina.

The Official Flag of the Republic of the Philippines.The Philippines celebrated its Independence Day every July 4, the date in 1946 that the United States granted independence to the nation, until 1962, when President Diosdado Macapagal signed the Presidential Proclamation No. 28, changing the official celebration to June 12, the date in 1898 that Emilio Aguinaldo declared the nation's independence from Spain.

On June 12, 1998, the nation celebrated its centennial year of Independence from Spain. The celebrations were held simultaneously nationwide by then President Fidel V. Ramos and Filipino communities worldwide. A commission was established for the said event, the National Centennial Commission headed by former Vice President Salvador Laurel presided all events around the country. One of the major projects of the commission was the Expo Pilipino, a grand showcase of the Philippines' growth as a nation for the last 100 years, located in the Clark Special Economic Zone (formerly Clark Air Base) in Angeles City, Pampanga.

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