Proclamation of Philippine Independence
By Rudy Arizala
Today, 12 June 2010, is the 112th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. May I share with you in recalling the incidents as to what happened on that historic day as written by historians.
Hereunder is a reading from our history on the proclamation of our 1898 Independence.
"In the presence of a huge crowd, independence was proclaimed on June 12, 1898 between four and five in the afternoon in Cavite at the ancestral home of General Emilio Aguinaldo 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, written, and read by Senior Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista in Spanish. A passage in the Declaration reminds one of another passage in the American Declaration of Independence. The Declaration was signed by ninety-eight people, among them an American army officer who witnessed the proclamation. The final paragraph states that there was a "stranger" (stranger in English translation — stranger 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 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.
Later at Malolos, Bulacan, the June 12 proclamation was modified upon the insistence of Apolinario Mabini who objected to that the original proclamation essentially placed the Philippines under the protection of the United States."
Despite its brief existence, the Malolos Congress earned its place in Philippine history if only for two achievements: the ratification of the declaration of independence on September 29, 1898 and the framing of the Malolos Constitution, which was promulgated by President Aguinaldo on January 21, 1899. To its eternal credit, the Malolos Congress, transcended its elite background by producing a supreme law distinguished for its democratic and pluralist ideals. These were embodied in the following provisions: the distribution of power in three separate branches of government: a legislature which was unicameral- the “Assembly” of elected representatives; the Executive branch, represented by the President supported by a Cabinet; and the Judiciary composed of the Supreme Court, headed by a Chief Justice to be elected by the Assembly, and lower courts. The Constitution likewise protected the people against the abuse of power with a registry of individual and national rights. Most important, it was imbued with the principle that sovereignty resides in the people.
The Repubic was inaugurated on January 23, 1899 at Barasoain Church, Malolos, in ceremonies marked by the reading of the whole Constitution, by Secretary Ocampo; proclamation of the Republic of the Philippines by Congress president Paterno, followed by the proclamation of Aguinaldo as the elected President of the new Republic, and speeches by Aguinaldo and Paterno.
The Central government of the new Republic was constituted in part as follows:
President- Emilio Aguinaldo
Department Secretaries- War - Baldomero Aguinaldo
Interior- Leandro Ibarra
Foreign Affairs- Cayetano Arellano (later replaced by Mabini)
Finance- Mariano Trias
Justice- Gregorio Araneta
Welfare- Felipe Buencamino
What is important is we observe said day today and every date of its anniversary with solemnity and resolve to do our best in solving the problems confronting our nation and make it a day out of the whims and caprices of those who would like to give other meaning and significance to such Proclamation.