When did the Philippines really gain independence? by Felizardo M. Pagsanhan
July 4 is the true [Philippine] Independence Day, not June 12. This can be gleaned from the history book titled “Philippine History and Government, Through the Years,” authored by Francisco M. Zulueta, and Abriel M. Nebres. Let me cite this book as reference in this piece.
The independence that the Philippines celebrates on June 12 is not a true independence. It is only a proclamation made by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898, which was unsuccessful and became invalid because on Dec. 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was ratified. Under this treaty, Spain ceded to America the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico, for which America paid Spain $20 million.
Aguinaldo and the revolutionaries failed to stop the ratification of the Treaty of Paris. The Philippines never achieved independence from Spain, and America owned the Philippines (pages 120 and 330). The Malolos Republic at Barasoain Church was also invalid, because it was established on Jan. 28, 1899, when the Philippines was under American occupation (page 123).
The Tydings-McDuffie Law, an act sponsored by Sen. Millard E. Tydings and Rep. John McDuffie, was passed by the US Congress to grant independence to the Philippines after a 10-year transition period in the government established for Filipinos under the American Commonwealth (pages 171-173). Exactly on July 4, 1946, the Philippines was granted independence, as proclaimed to the world by US President Harry S. Truman (pages 172, 211 and 338).
Thereafter, the Philippines celebrated Independence Day on July 4 every year for 15 years, until it was moved to June 12 by President Diosdado Macapagal. According to Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, chair of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, President Macapagal issued Proclamation 28 in 1962, which affirmed the proclaimed independence by Aguinaldo in Cavite on June 12, 1898.
But Macapagal’s Proclamation 28 was a grave mistake. He should have known that the proclaimed independence by Aguinaldo became invalid under the Treaty of Paris. He also forgot that he became president under the independence achieved by the Philippines from America, on July 4, 1946. This error must be rectified, to stop Filipinos from celebrating a fake Independence Day on June 12.
The new Congress must be told of this grave mistake so that it can pass a law to bring back our observation and celebration of the Philippines’ true Independence Day to July 4. If Congress fails to do so, Filipinos will continue to celebrate an independence that never took place, and to believe a twisted history of the Philippines.
A law must also be passed to prescribe to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and to the Department of Education that Philippine history, must be included in the elementary and high school curriculum as a compulsory subject. The truth commission ordered in our Constitution must also be upheld to preclude Filipinos from being fooled.
On June 12, the mass media will remind Filipinos that the Philippines is celebrating its 115th year of independence. This is a lie. The true Philippine independence is only 67 years old.
(Felizardo M. Pagsanhan, 81, says he witnessed the inauguration of the Philippines’ independence on July 4, 1946. He is now retired. The last job he held was as senior purchasing officer and material control man.) (www.inquirer.net)