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‘The three shining moments of

Philippine history’
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Published June 10, 2017, 10:00 PM

Fidel V. Ramos

By Fidel V. Ramos

Former Philippine President

(First of Two Parts)

Since becoming a nation 119 years ago, Filipinos have strived to live in freedom, an atmosphere of enduring
peace and sustainable development towards a better and brighter future for us and our offspring.

This brighter future is to be shared by generations of Filipinos – living and dead – who fought for freedom,
dignity and prosperity, and also by us, their descendants.

Three defining beacons in Philippine history should guide Filipinos – the revolutionary Spirit of 1896 at Pugad
Lawin, the patriotic Spirit of 1942 at Bataan and Corregidor, and the liberating Spirit of 1986 at EDSA.

The “Cry of Pugad Lawin” that Andres Bonifacio and his fellow Katipuneros sparked on 23 August 1896 lit
the flames of the Philippine revolution. In tearing up their cedulas or tax certificates, our forebears did not
merely repudiate the claims of Spanish colonial power over their persons and their possessions. It was a
symbolic act of a few brave men for all our people – the 6.2 million Filipinos then living.

From that day onward, the story of our people would forever be rooted in Pugad Lawin along our quest for
nationhood – and never again would the history of our country be the same.

Revolutionary spirit OF 1896

On 12 June 1998, we celebrated the centennial of Philippine Independence – together with other Filipinos
throughout the world. At that time, FVR recalled to our countrymen and countrywomen that one hundred years

before, our nation’s founders gathered to declare – with one heart, one mind and one voice – our freedom from
the yoke of colonial tyranny.

As Jose Rizal visualized in his essay, The Philippines A Centenary Hence – “The new Filipinas would
generate a breed of Filipinos who would derive energy from their pre-colonial past. They would create a future
by their labor; work the land, the mines; and revive the maritime and trading skills of their forefathers… They
would be strengthened by the recovery of their old virtues, and ultimately attain a prosperous and independent

As part of that historic celebration, the President issued Proclamation 1266, “Declaring the Historical Sites
Which Have Played Supportive Roles in the Country’s Struggle for Independence as Centennial Freedom Trail

By so doing, we became more than a mere collection of tribes, or a chorus of tongues. We became, in spirit
and reality, a sovereign nation – a people united by the common purpose of a better future for all Filipinos.

The National Centennial Commission (under Chairman/former Vice President Salvador Laurel) identified such
historical sites, particularly:

 07 June 1892, Tondo, Manila – where the revolutionary society Katipunan was founded.
 June 1892 to July 1896, Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte – where Jose Rizal was exiled.
 23 August 1896, Pugad Lawin, Quezon City – where the Philippine Revolution erupted, led by Katipunan
Supremo Andres Bonifacio
 30 August 1896, Pinaglabanan, San Juan – where the first major battle between Katipunan rebels and Spanish
colonial forces happened.
 11 November 1896, Binakayan, Cavite – where the first major victory by Katipunan units took place.
 November-December 1896, Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila – where Rizal was tried for treason.
 30 December 1896, Bagumbayan, Manila – where Rizal was executed by musketry.
 17 February 1897, Zapote Bridge, Bacoor, Cavite – where Katipunan rebels repelled a large Spanish force led
by Governor-General Camilo de Polavieja.
 22 March 1897, Tejeros, Cavite – where Katipuneros elected a revolutionary government under General
Emilio Aguinaldo.
 14 December 1897, Biak-na-Bato, Bulacan – where a truce was forged between Filipino and Spanish forces.
 28 May 1898, Alapan, Imus, Cavite – where, after a major victory by Aguinaldo, the Philippine flag was first
 12 June 1898, Kawit, Cavite – where Philippine Independence from Spain was proclaimed.
 17 November 1898, Santa Barbara, Iloilo – where the Philippine flag was first raised outside Luzon island.
 23 January 1899, Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan – where the Malolos Congress established Asia’s first
democratic Republic.

Bataan-Corregidor: patriotic spirit of 1942

More than 70 years have passed since World War II. When devastation and death once reigned over the land,
we now have overall peace, opportunity and hope for brighter future for younger generations of Filipinos.

And precisely because of the better conditions we now enjoy – we must look back, and acknowledge once
again our everlasting debt to those who gifted us with freedom.

The Bataan Death March took five excruciating days – in the scorching sun, and without life’s barest
necessities, it may as well have been eternity.

Many fell from sheer exhaustion, wounds, disease, hunger, cruelties of the conquering army. Others died in the
CAPAS concentration camp itself, under the most horrible conditions. In one day alone a total of 383 prisoners

died in camp. By 25 July that same year, more than 15,000 Filipino and 2,500 American Pows had died in

These are staggering figures that boggle the minds of those of us who have never had to suffer the privations of
war and the horrors of imprisonment.

But war, of course, has always been the most unnatural and cruelest of disasters. It is entirely man-made, and
has often made a mockery of man’s finest talents and moral achievements. Many centuries ago, a sage
observed that, “in peace, the sons bury their fathers; but in war, the fathers bury their sons.”

To most, it may seem paradoxical that it is the soldier/policeman who yearns for peace more than others
because our public servants in uniform and their families know from firsthand experience the cruelties of war
and violence – what sufferings are inflicted upon combatants, their loved ones, and innocent civilians caught in
the crossfire.

Those heroic Filipino men and women of World War II fought not for their own glory – as rousing and moving
as the stories of their exploits are to us today – but for something many of them would never see with their
own eyes: the peace and the growing prosperity that their descendants now live under. Perhaps they understood
what Aristotle meant when he said, more than two thousand years ago, “the goal of war is peace.”

The liberating spirit of 1986 at EDSA

In the renewed nationwide solidarity that burst out during those four pulsating days at EDSA in February 1986,
Filipinos redeemed the sacrifices of our departed forebears and fallen heroes by regaining our birthright of
freedom, justice and national pride.

We became united in our fortitude and determination, not merely to throw out an authoritarian regime that
failed to govern democratically, but also to win a better future.

Today, we realize that EDSA has a much deeper meaning. Filipinos were galvanized to direct action by their
desire to reestablish a society of human dignity and liberty, in a land not torn apart by strife and at peace with
itself, with a representative democratic government that is effective/accountable, and an overall dynamic,
competitive and bountiful nation.

EDSA was not just a four-day phenomenon in 1986, neither a one-day commemorative event each year. EDSA
straddles several generations of heroic struggles. EDSA is part of a continuing revolution – one fine block
added each year to the never-ending task of nation-building – an unfulfilled vision that Filipinos must win and
continue to sustain. Its most significant result is the annual opportunity to infuse our people with new God-
given resolve to make the Philippines greater than before.

Filipinos should take great pride in that, in recent years, the collective power of common people and our spirit
of EDSA touched off similar peaceful uprisings for political liberation and human justice around the world.

A shrine for empowered Filipinos

The greatest loss to our posterity would be our failure to impart the values of transcendent events in nation-
building to those who now bear the torch of national leadership and our younger generations.

Today, as we prepare to celebrate once again our independence day, we reiterate our suggestion that the EDSA
People Power Commission collect and centralize the significant memorabilia, writings and other historical
artifacts in one accessible location (call it the people power freedom learning center) to facilitate the education
of Filipinos about EDSA – following the example of the South Korean government which put up the
Philippines-Korea friendship center at fort Bonifacio last 2012 on land made available by the DND to honor
the Philippine Expeditionary Forces To Korea (PEFTOK).

For our people’s continuing spirit of patriotism and better future, the president and commander-in-chief should
now make available a respectable, permanent space accessible in camp Aguinaldo adjacent to our people
power monument on EDSA as the site of our people power freedom learning center that shall inspire heroism
and sacrifice in younger Filipinos. They need to know – and, from time-to-time, have to be reminded – what
their elders had fought and died for, in the service of god, country, people and the environment.



July 4, 1946: True Philippine Independence Day

by Bobby Reyes
Date: 7/11/2003

Most Filipinos celebrate the declaration of Philippine independence on June 12 of every year. President
Diosdado Macapagal signed an executive order in May 17, 1962 that "moved" the Philippines's
independence day from 1946 to 1898. On the basis of the June 12, 1898 alleged declaration of
independence by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite, he thought that it was his mandate to correct
"history." He thought it would serve better the national aspirations of the Filipino people to adopt that date
as the Philippines' independence day. Can President Macapagal's executive order change history?

I do not think so. It seems that a vast majority of Filipino Americans share my view.

Wars of Independence

We argue that the war that led to General Aguinaldo's proclamation of independence was but one of a
series of wars for independence that the Filipino people waged.

If we were to trace the Filipino struggle for independence, we could mark April 27, 1521, as the day the
Filipinos first declared their freedom. The naturalized-Spanish explorer, Fernando de Magallanes, died on
the beach of Mactan, Cebu, Philippines, on that day at the hands of native freedom fighters. But do
historians admit that fact? No. The Philippines, at that time, consisted of warring tribes. The archipelago
was not yet a nation. In 333 and 48 years, respectively, the Spaniard and the American colonial masters
nearly unified the Filipinos. They managed to unite nearly all the people of the Philippines into a
semblance of a nation.

There were many wars of, and for, independence of the Filipino people. Prior to the founding of the
Katipunan in July 1892, there were at least 32 instances, since 1754, of rebellions, mutinies and revolts
against the Spanish government in the Philippines. If we were to count the uprisings during the British
occupation of Manila from 1762-1764, the number would total 41. There were sporadic revolts in 1763 in
the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Tayabas (now called Quezon), Cavite, Camarines (Bicol region),
Samar, Panay, Cebu and Zamboanga.

The total of 41 revolts from 1574 to 1888 does not even include the war for independence waged by
Princess Urduja of Pangasinan. If my memory serves me right, Princess Urduja's army fought the
Spaniards from 1680 to 1692.

The war for independence in 1898 actually began in 1892. The founding of the secret society of Filipino
rebels called the Katipunan was on July 7, 1892. Prior to the execution of Jose P. Rizal on Dec. 30, 1896,
there was the so-called "First Cry of Philippine Independence" on April 10, 1895, in Montalban, Rizal. The
more famous Cry of Balintawak was on Aug. 26, 1896. The Filipino rebels fired the first shots of the
revolution on the same day. There was the first encounter in the sitio of Pasong Tamo that was then a
part of the Bulacan province. In that encounter the Katipunan suffered more than 3,000 casualties. The
Battle of Pinaglabanan in San Juan, Rizal, followed on Aug. 30, 1896. The 1896 revolt spread to the other
provinces. On Sept. 2, 1896, Mariano Llanera and his 2,000 followers rose up in arms in San Isidro,
Nueva Ecija.

General Aguinaldo declared Philippine "independence" over the dead bodies of the Katipunan founder,
Andres Bonifacio, his brothers and their followers. Aguinaldo's goons murdered these freedom fighters.
History has it that Aguinaldo ordered also the assassination of Gen. Antonio Luna in Cabanatuan, Nueva
Ecija. These were among the reasons the Aguinaldo proclamation of "independence" was parochial in
scope. He had only limited support in his native province of Cavite and some neighboring areas. The
Americans controlled the walled City of Intramuros after their May 1, 1898 naval victory at Manila Bay.

There was not even a single country that recognized the proclamation of "independence" made by
General Aguinaldo. The Filipino people did not ratify the 1899 Malolos constitution, which ostensibly gave
"retroactively" Aguinaldo his "emergency" powers to declare a dictatorial government in 1898.

There are many Filipinos and Filipino Americans who think that Independence Day celebrations are
commemorations of a fictional independence. Filipino leaders can amuse themselves into thinking that
the Philippines celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1998. Even if we were to assume arguendo that the
Philippines were already independent by the turn of this century, still the right year would have been 1896
and not 1898.

There are many of us who want to set the record straight. We celebrate only what is real and factual. We
cannot distort historical facts. We cannot celebrate an event that only "resembles the truth." We reckon
that it was only on July 4, 1946, when the United States granted it independence that the Philippines
became politically free as a country.

The Philippine Independence Day celebrations do not have relevance to the United States and the
American people. We believe that the Philippine National Centennial Commission and the Philippine
leaders who insist on the June 12, 1898 independence are insensitive to the facts of history. They are
also insensitive to the feelings of the American people, especially those of Philippine ancestry. To ignore
the July 4, 1946 independence is hypocritical. It demonstrates, once more, the myopic view of some
Philippine leaders who think that to be pro-Filipino is to be anti-American.

A Lesson in World War II History

In case the Philippine national leaders have forgotten, the United States lost more than 20,000 American
lives in recapturing the Philippines from the Japanese invaders in 1944-1945. The Americans, with the
help of the Filipino soldiers and guerilla fighters, had to drive out first the Japanese invaders in order to
give independence to the Philippines. This was the independence that the Aug. 29, 1916 Jones Law
provided, as amended by the March 24, 1934 Tydings-McDuffie Law.

Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt could have sided with the American Navy top brass in October 1944 and
avoided American casualties in the Philippines. The admirals wanted to bypass the Philippines, drive the
Japanese from Formosa (now Taiwan) and attack mainland Japan from there. Gen. Douglas MacArthur
appealed to President Roosevelt. The general said: "To bypass the Philippines would admit the truth that
we had abandoned the Filipinos and would not shed American blood to redeem them." President
Roosevelt agreed with General MacArthur and authorized the October 20, 1944 landing at Leyte. The rest
is history, as the cliché goes.

Ingratitude has never been a trait of the Filipino people. Some critics have said that might be part of the
character of the Filipino national leaders. We refuse to believe these critics.

A Philippine-American Celebration?

What we ought to celebrate is American involvement in the Philippines. This would make the celebrations
centennial relevant in the United States. We could celebrate the years of special ties between the peoples
of the United States and the Philippines.

The Filipinos, especially the Filipino Americans, therefore, will have to put their thinking caps on and
select which independence day to celebrate. We are confident that the more than three-million-strong
Filipino Americans, many of whom are now citizens of the United States, will support our stand. Yes, the
Philippines has only one independence day. The date of independence is July 4, 1946. What say you
Filipinos and Filipino Americans?

Editor's note:

Bobby Reyes is a "media advocate and founder of the Media Breakfast Club (MBC)" according to a piece
of literature he handed out recently. He is also the main organizer of the Philippine- American exhibits
and shows that occasionally grace the halls of the West Covina Mall in Southern California.

This article is an excerpt from a paper that Reyes released on March 3, 1996. Commas, quotation marks,
italics, and information presented are the author's.




The emergence of a national language that could unite the whole country is the
realization of a dream that goes back to the year 1935. President Manuel L. Quezon of
the Commonwealth of the Philippines made this possible through the inclusion of an
article in the 1935 Constitution of the Philippines regarding the development of a national

Of the more than a hundred languages being spoken by the different ethnolinguistic
groups of dwellers in the more than seven thousand and one hundred islands comprising
the Philippines, eight of them are considered major languages. These major languages
are Ilocano, Pangasinan, Pampango, Tagalog, Bicol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Waray-

The 1935 Constitution Article XIV, Section 3 states that “…Congress shall make
necessary steps towards the development of a national language which will be based on
one of the existing native languages…” There are two significant words in the statement,
namely existing and native. The initial step made by the national Assembly was the
passing of Commonwealth Act No. 184 (1936) that created a national committee and
empowered its members to decide on which one of the existing native major languages

will the national language be based. The committee members were eminent linguists and
each one of them representing a linguistic group or one of the major languages. They
were Jaime C. de Veyra (Hiligaynon), Santiago Fonacier (Ilocano), Casimiro Perfecto
(Bicol), Felix Salas Rodriguez (Samarnon), Felimon Sotto (Cebuano), Cecilio Lopez
(Tagalog), and Hadji Butu (Maranao-Maguindanao). Mr. Jaime de Veyra was the
chairman of the said committee. A year later, four more committee members were
included. They were Isidro Abad (Cebuano), Zoilo Hilario (Pampango), Jose Zulueta
(Pangasinan) and Lope K. Santos (Tagalog).

After a thorough and earnest effort in studying the case, the committee
recommended Tagalog to be the basis of the national language. Hence, the Executive
Order No. 134 s. 1937 stating that the national language will be based on Tagalog. Three
years after the proclamation of Tagalog as the basis of the national language (officially
called “Pilipino” since 1959) it was decided as one of the official languages of the
Philippines. It was taught as a subject in the teacher education courses and in the
elementary and secondary schools throughout the country. Lope K. Santos who was then
appointed director of the Institute of National Language (1939), undertook the preparation
of grammar book (Balarila ng Wikang Pambansa) which constitute the bulk of what was
taught in school.

The Tagalog-based national language was taught in school only as one of the subject
areas (1940) but was not adapted as the medium of instruction. During World War II, the
Japanese encouraged the use of the National Language rather than English in the
schools. The Tagalog-based national language was, therefore, propagated not only in
education but also in mass media and in official communication. The census for 1948
reported that 7,126,913 people or 37.11% of the population spoke the language,
representing an increase of 11.7% from the 1939 figure of 4,068,565. Of these seven
million people, 47.7% learned it as a second language (Liamzon).

Once again, the National Language issue sparked heated discussion during the 1973
Constitutional Convention. A committee on National Language (CNL) was created by the
convention delegates to look into the language question and to make recommendations
on the policy that should be adapted on the matter. The CNL, after hearing conflicting
testimonies from various language experts in the country, recommended to eliminate
Pilipino and replace it with a new “common national language to be known as Filipino,
based on existing native languages…”. The FILIPINO to be developed pursuant to the
1973 constitution could be a fusion of the different native languages. This CNL
recommendation met a great deal of oppositions from various sectors of the community.
They pointed out that such an artificial language was not feasible, since it lacked both
native speakers and a literary tradition to help propagate it.

FILIPINO, the national language of the Philippines was finally settled in the 1987
Constitution. Article XIV section 6 states that “the National language of the Philippines is
Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing
Philippine and other languages.

The constitution also provided that subject to provision of law and as the congress
may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of
Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the
educational system.

Section 7. For purposes of communication and instruction, the official languages of

the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English.

The regional languages are the auxilliary official language in the region and shall
serve as auxilliary media of instruction therein.”

It is predicted that by the year 2000, the Philippines will be a Filipino lingua franca
speaking nation, which is quite an achievement wrought within a time-frame of around 65
years (1935-2000).


The Malolos Constitution.
Translation by Sulpicio Guevara from the original Spanish text


WE, the Representatives of the Filipino people, lawfully convened, in order to establish justice,
provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and to secure for ourselves the
blessings of liberty, imploring the aid of the Supreme Legislator of the Universe to help us attain
these objectives, have voted, decreed, and sanctioned the following.

Article 1. The political association of all the Filipinos constitutes a NATION, whose
state shall be known as the Philippine Republic.
Article 2. The Philippine Republic is free and independent.
Article 3. Sovereignty resides exclusively in the people.
Article 4. Government of the Republic is popular, representative, alternative, and
responsible, and shall exercise three (3) distinct powers: namely the legislative, the
executive, and the judicial.
Any two or more of these powers shall never be united in one person or corporation,
nor the legislative power vested in one single individual.
Article 5. The State recognizes the freedom and equality of all religions, as well as the
separation of the Church and the State.
Article 6. The following are Filipinos:
1. All persons born in the Philippine territory. A vessel of Philippine registry is considered,
for this purpose, as part of Philippines territory.
2. Children of a Filipino father of mother, although born outside of the Philippines.
3. Foreigners who have obtained certificate of naturalization. Those who, without such
certificate, have acquired a domicile in any town within Philippine territory.

It is understood that domicile is acquired by uninterrupted residence for two years in

any locality within Philippine territory, with an open abode and known occupation,
and contributing to all the taxes imposed by the Nation.

The condition of being a Filipino is lost in accordance with law.

Article 7. No Filipino or foreigner shall be detained nor imprisoned except for the
commission of crime and in accordance with law.
Article 8. All persons detained shall be discharged of delivered to the judicial
authority within 24 hours following the act of detention.

All detentions without the legal effect, unless the arrested person is duly prosecuted
within 72 hours after delivery to a competent court.

The accused shall be duly notified of such proceeding within the same period.
Article 9. No Filipino shall be imprisoned except by virtue of an order by competent

The order of imprisonment shall be ratified or confirmed within 72 hours following

the said order, after the accused has been heard.
Article 10. No one shall enter the dwelling house of any Filipino or foreigner residing
in the Philippines without his consent, except in urgent cases of fire, inundation,
earthquake or other similar danger, or by reason of unlawful aggression from within,
or in order to assist a person therein who cries for help.

Outside of these cases, the entry into the dwelling house of any Filipino or foreigner
resident in the Philippines or the search of his papers and effects can only be decreed
by a competent court and executed only in the daytime.

The search of papers and effects shall be made always in the presence of the person
searched or of a member of his family and .in their absence, of two witnesses resident
of the same place.

However, when a criminal caught in fraganti should take refuge in his dwelling house,
the authorities in pursuit may enter into it, only for the purpose of making an arrest.

If the criminal should take refuge in the dwelling house of foreigner, the consent of
the latter must first be obtained.
Article 11. No Filipino shall be compelled to change his residence or domicile except
by virtue of final judgement.
Article 12. In no case may correspondence confined to the post office be detained or
opened by government authorities, nor any telegraphic or telephonic message

However, by virtue of an order a competent court, correspondence may be detained

and opened in the presence of the sender.
Article 13. All orders of imprisonment, of search of dwelling house, or detention of
written correspondence, telegraph or telephone, must be justified.

When an order lacks this requisite, or when the ground on which the act was founded
is proven in court to be unlawful or manifestly insufficient, the person to be detained
or whose imprisonment has not been ratified within the period prescribed in Article 9,
whose correspondence has been detained, shall have the right to recover damages.

Article 14. No Filipino shall be prosecuted or sentenced, expert by a judge or court of

proper jurisdiction and according to the procedure prescribed by law.
Article 15. Expert in the cases provided by the Constitution, all persons detained or
imprisoned not in accordance with legal formalities shall be released upon his own
petition or upon petition of another person.

The law shall determine the manner of preceding summarily in this instance, as well
as the personal and pecuniary penalties which shall be imposed upon the person who
ordered, executed or cause to be executed the illegal detection or imprisonment.
Article 16. No one shall be temporarily or permanently deprived of rights or disturbed
in his enjoyment thereof, except by virtue of judicial sentence.

The officials who, under any pretext whatsoever, should violate this provision, shall
be personally liable for the damages caused.
Article 17. No one shall be deprived of his property by expropriation except on
grounds of public necessity and benefit, previously declared and justified by proper
authority, and indemnifying the owner thereof prior to expropriation.
Article 18. No one shall be obligated to pay any public tax which had not been
approved by the National Assembly or by local popular governments legally so
authorized, and which is not in the manner prescribed by the law.
Article 19. No Filipino who is in full enjoyment of his civil and political rights, shall
be impeded in the free exercise of said rights.
Article 20. Neither shall any Filipino be deprived:
1. of the right to freely express his ideas or opinions, orally or in writings, through the use
of the press or other similar means.
2. of the right of association for purposes of human life and which are not contrary to
public morals; and lastly,
3. of the right to send petitions to the authorities, individually or collectively.

The right of petition shall not be exercised through any kind of armed force.
Article 21. The exercise of the right provided for in the proceeding article should be
subject to general provisions regulating the same.
Article 22. Crimes committed on the occasion of the exercise of rights provided for in
this title, shall be punished by the courts in accordance with the laws.
Article 23. Ant Filipino may establish and maintain institutions of learning, in
accordance with the laws authorizing them.
Article 24. Foreigners may freely reside in Philippine territory, subject to legal
dispositions regulating the matter; may engage in any occupation or professions for
the exercise of which no special license is required by law to be issued by the national
Article 25. No Filipino who is in full enjoyment of his political and civil rights shall
be impeded in his right to travel freely abroad of in his right to transfer his residence
or possessions to another country, except as to his obligations to contribute to military
service or the maintenance of public taxes.

Article 26. No foreigner who has not been naturalized may exercise in the Philippines
any office which carries with it any authority of jurisdictional powers.
Article 27. All Filipinos are obliged to defend his country with arms when called
upon by law, and to contribute to the expenses of the State in proportion to his means.
Article 28. The prior authorization to prosecute a public official in the cases which
constitute apparent and clear violations of constitutional precepts. In others, the agents
of the law shall only be exempted if they did not exercise the authority.
Article 30. The guaranties provided for in articles, 7,8,9,10 and 11 and paragraphs 1
and 2 of Article 20 shall not be suspended, partially or wholly, in any part of the
Republic, except temporarily and by authority of law, when the security of the State in
extraordinary circumstances so demands.

When promulgated in any territory where the suspension applies, there shall be a
special law which shall govern during the period of the suspension, according to the
circumstances prevailing.

The law of suspension as well as the special law to govern shall be approved by the
National Assembly, and in case the latter is in recess, the Government shall have the
power to decree the same jointly with the Permanent Commission, without prejudice
to convoking the Assembly without the least delay and report to it what had been

However, any suspension made shall not affect more rights than those mentioned in
the first paragraph of this article nor authorize the Government to banish or deport
from the Philippines any Filipino.

In no case may the civil or military chief promulgate any penalty other than those
previously provided by law.
Article 31. In the Republic of the Philippines, no one shall be judged by a special law
nor by special tribunals. No person or corporation may enjoy privileges or
emoluments which are not in compensation for public service rendered and authorized
by law. War and marine laws shall apply for crimes or delicts which have intimate
relation to military or naval discipline.
Article 32. No Filipino shall establish laws on primogeniture, nor institutions
restrictive of property rights, nor accept honors, decorations or honorific titles or
nobility from foreign nations without the consent of the Government.

Neither shall the government establish in the Republic institutions mentioned in the
preceding paragraph, nor confer honors, decorations or honorific titles and nobility to
any Filipino.

The Nation, however, may reward by special approved by the Assembly, conspicuous,
services rendered by citizens of the country.


July 12, 2012

by: Laura Garbes

The Philippines is an archipelago in the Pacific with rich linguistic and cultural diversity. According to the
Ethnologue, there are 171 living languages spoken in the Philippines today. For the most part, this linguistic variety
has not been accurately reflected in governmental and educational policies. The current constitution declares both
English and Filipino (Tagalog) to be the official languages of the country, as both are spoken in metro Manila, the
nation’s capital.
Making English and Tagalog the official languages of the Philippines is a practical move, seeing as there needs to be
language that can be used to do business and trade as well as to communicate on both national and international
levels. Still, the constitutional declaration of these two languages as official and the other languages as auxiliary
takes a discriminatory tone when looking at how it resonates in other policies and in the public sphere.
The linguistic discrimination is present in the educational system in particular. For instance, as of 2011, the House
government in the Philippines was still investigating instances when children in primary school were punished for
not speaking English (To learn more about this phenomenon, click here). These occurrences are not uncommon, and
they stem from the view of English as the “language of success.” It is undeniable, that children able to speak English
will be better able to communicate in international contexts.
However, a singular wish to teach children English at all costs, when coupled with punishment for using one’s
mother tongue, is both psychologically and culturally damaging. On the psychological level, a child’s sense of
identity is grounded in his or her mother tongue. If children are conditioned to pair English with success, they will
increasingly view their own native language as irrelevant. They may not see the need to pass it on to the next
generation, causing eventual language endangerment for minority languages, a significant cultural loss.
Luckily, things change and the Philippine Department of Education is proving that. DepEd is the new name for the
Philippine government’s education department. Until recent years, the department had been under the thumb of
imperialist legacy, left behind by first Spanish then US rule. In speaking with my father about his education, he
explained that, “all the textbooks were American, from U.S. companies, including history books. The Philippine
history we learned was from the perspective of the [United] States.”
Given this legacy, the reformed DepEd has sought to address the criticism of not providing a good enough base for
those wishing to pursue a university education. To achieve this, they pushed a bill through Congress that completely
overhauls the current educational system. There are two major components of the bill that dramatically change the
format of Philippine schools, starting in 2012.
The first is the extension of secondary school. Prior to 2012, there was a 10-year long education cycle. With this bill,
the Philippines will adopt a K-12 cycle to ensure that students are prepared to go to university by the time of
graduation from grade 12.
The second main component of the bill addresses the linguistic discrimination that occurs in emphasizing English
education, by implementing Mother Tongue Based, Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). This model promotes
language of instruction in the mother tongue of the school district, rather than Filipino (Tagalog) or English.
However, these other languages will be taught and incorporated into the curriculum gradually. Advocates of this
approach point to pilot programs in the Philippines that have been successful in helping students gain full
proficiency in the mother tongue, the national language Filipino, and English.
There is also support for this method from the United Nations (UN), in their “Education for All” program. The UN
has come out in support of the move, because their own objective is to enhance education, with the belief that there
needs to be national recognition of linguistic minorities. By starting with the language that one speaks at home, the
gap in understanding can be bridged, and students can better learn the curriculum.
The legislation is being implemented during this coming school year. The main concern that many educators have
with this bill is the swiftness with which the bill demands a change, leaving teachers feeling unprepared for the
dramatic switch. The fact that there are now 13 years of schooling for children, rather than 10, calls for an expanded

curriculum that teachers are not used to. It makes some teachers feel that they are inadequately trained for such a
cycle. Rechelle Guzman, member of the chamber of commerce in Pampanga, Philippines, elaborated on the
difficulty of the language training adjustment in particular. “There are no available modules and materials or books
to support our Mother tongue (Kapampangan) curriculum.” Without the proper tools, the legislation’s
implementation is in danger of losing its effectiveness.
Furthermore, the definition of “mother tongue” is a contentious subject, as many parents teach their children English
at home. “Mother tongue” is interpreted by some as the cultural language, but others as the language taught from
birth, regardless of whether it is part of traditional heritage. Without a clear agreement, resistance to the bill and
confusion within communities will remain.
While questions and concerns remain regarding the implementation of this bill, proponents of cultural preservation
do believe this MTB-MLE bill is a step in the right direction. The reluctance of educators and administrators does
not necessarily mean resistance. Guzman went on to say, despite the challenges, “Hopefully we will be able to fully
comply with the mother tongue intervention in the curriculum by the 2nd quarter.”
Those with reluctance can take comfort in the success of those who had implemented a MTB-MLE system prior to
the legislation. Among these schools is the Tarik Soliman Elementary School, a public school located at Brgy
Sagrada Familia, Masantol, Pampanga, in the Philippines, whose principal asserted that they felt as if teaching in
Kapampangan, the language of their village, has been the best policy.
And crucially, this bill has opened up a national dialogue about the linguistic diversity in the country and how to
deal with homogenous English-based education. The historic legislation brings the issue to the forefront of the
country’s mind, as it affects the future of Filipino children greatly. In this way, the years of linguistic discrimination,
both intentional and unintentional, are now being discussed on a national level. The bill’s passage also sends a clear
message to those partaking in linguistic discrimination, that it is a practice that will no longer be accepted or ignored
by the government.
The bill itself can serve as an example for other countries seeking education reform. As No Child Left Behind
expires in the U.S., the U.S. would do well to consider this bill when developing new policies. The MLB-MTE
initiative was passed in when a complete education overhaul was already underway. The time may be right for a
U.S. attempt at education that accurately reflects the country’s own linguistic diversity, especially when it comes to
Indigenous languages in Native communities.

Independence Day in Philippines

One of the most significant dates in the Philippine’s history is Independence Day because it
marks the nation’s independence from the Spanish rule on June 12, 1898. Filipinos celebrate it
annually on June 12.

Flag of the Philippines.©

What do People do?

Independence Day is a day when many people, including government officials, employees, and students,
participate in nationwide parades. However, the main highlight is the police and military parade in Manila
headed by the country’s incumbent president, followed by a speech and a 21-gun salute. Many Filipinos spend
the day in parks and malls. Many Filipino communities in other countries also observe the nation’s
Independence Day celebrations.

Public Life
The Philippine’s Independence Day is a national holiday so government offices are closed. There are
absolutely no classes in all schools. Many business establishments are closed except shopping centers. Public
transport such as buses, passenger jeeps, and tricycles still operate but their routes may be limited due to the
closure of streets used for parades.

The annual June 12 observance of Philippine’s Independence Day came into effect after past President
Diosdado Macapagal signed the Republic Act No. 4166 regarding this matter on August 4, 1964. This Act

legalized the holiday, which is based on the Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898 by General Emilio
Aguinaldo and Filipino revolutionary forces from the Spanish colonization. The Philippines’ flag was raised
and its national anthem was played for the first time in 1898. However, liberty was short-lived because Spain
and the United States did not recognize the declaration.
The 1898 Treaty of Paris ended the war between Spain and the United States. Spain surrendered the entire
archipelago comprising the Philippines to the United States. The Philippines started a revolt against the United
States in 1899 and achieved national sovereignty on July 4, 1946, through the Treaty of Manila. Independence
Day was officially observed on July 4 until the Republic Act No. 4166, which set out to move the holiday to
June 12, was approved on August 4, 1964.

The Flag of the Republic of the Philippines, representing the country is symbolized by the following:
 Royal blue field – peace, truth, and justice.
 Scarlet red field – patriotism and valor.
 White triangle – equality and brotherhood.
 Three stars on the corners of the triangle – the three main geographical regions of the country namely
Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
 The sun at the center of the triangle – has eight rays representing the eight Philippine provinces that
started the revolt against Spain.
The flag is seen in various places across towns and cities in the Philippines during the country’s Independence
Day. Many cars also sport miniature flags on this day.

Religion in the Philippines

by Jack Miller

The Philippines proudly boasts to be the only Christian nation in Asia. More than 86
percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 6 percent belong to various nationalized
Christian cults, and another 2 percent belong to well over 100 Protestant
denominations. In addition to the Christian majority, there is a vigorous 4 percent
Muslim minority, concentrated on the southern islands of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan.
Scattered in isolated mountainous regions, the remaining 2 percent follow non-Western,
indigenous beliefs and practices. The Chinese minority, although statistically
insignificant, has been culturally influential in coloring Filipino Catholicism with many of
the beliefs and practices of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

The pre-Hispanic belief system of Filipinos consisted of a pantheon of gods, spirits,

creatures, and men that guarded the streams, fields, trees, mountains, forests, and
houses. Bathala, who created earth and man, was superior to these other gods and
spirits. Regular sacrifices and prayers were offered to placate these deities and spirits--
some of which were benevolent, some malevolent. Wood and metal images
represented ancestral spirits, and no distinction was made between the spirits and their

physical symbol. Reward or punishment after death was dependent upon behavior in
this life.

Anyone who had reputed power over the supernatural and natural was automatically
elevated to a position of prominence. Every village had its share of shamans and priests
who competitively plied their talents and carried on ritual curing. Many gained renown
for their ability to develop anting-anting, a charm guaranteed to make a person
invincible in the face of human enemies. Other sorcerers concocted love potions or
produced amulets that made their owners invisible.

Upon this indigenous religious base two foreign religions were introduced -- Islam and
Christianity -- and a process of cultural adaptation and synthesis began that is still
evolving. Spain introduced Christianity to the Philippines in 1565 with the arrival of
Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Earlier, beginning in 1350, Islam had been spreading
northward from Indonesia into the Philippine archipelago. By the time the Spanish
arrived in the 16th century, Islam was firmly established on Mindanao and Sulu and had
outposts on Cebu and Luzon. At the time of the Spanish arrival, the Muslim areas had
the highest and most politically integrated culture on the islands and, given more time,
would probably have unified the entire archipelago. Carrying on their historical tradition
of expelling the Jews and Moros [Moors] from Spain (a commitment to eliminating any
non-Christians), Legaspi quickly dispersed the Muslims from Luzon and the Visayan
islands and began the process of Christianization. Dominance over the Muslims on
Mindanao and Sulu, however, was never achieved during three centuries of Spanish
rule. During American rule in the first half of this century the Muslims were never totally
pacified during the so-called "Moro Wars." Since independence, particularly in the last
decade, there has been resistance by large segments of the Muslim population to
national integration. Many feel, with just cause, that integration amounts to cultural and
psychological genocide. For over 10 years the Moro National Liberation Front has been
waging a war of secession against the Marcos government.

While Islam was contained in the southern islands, Spain conquered and converted the
remainder of the islands to Hispanic Christianity. The Spanish seldom had to resort to
military force to win over converts, instead the impressive display of pomp and
circumstance, clerical garb, images, prayers, and liturgy attracted the rural populace. To
protect the population from Muslim slave raiders, the people were resettled from
isolated dispersed hamlets and brought "debajo de las companas" (under the bells), into
Spanish organized pueblos. This set a pattern that is evident in modern Philippine
Christian towns. These pueblos had both civil and ecclesiastical authority; the dominant
power during the Spanish period was in the hands of the parish priest. The church,
situated on a central plaza, became the locus of town life. Masses, confessions,
baptisms, funerals, marriages punctuated the tedium of everyday routines. The church
calendar set the pace and rhythm of daily life according to fiesta and liturgical seasons.
Market places and cockfight pits sprang up near church walls. Gossip and goods were
exchanged and villagers found "both restraint and release under the bells." The results
of 400 years of Catholicism were mixed -- ranging from a deep theological
understanding by the educated elite to a more superficial understanding by the rural and

urban masses. The latter is commonly referred to as Filipino folk Christianity, combining
a surface veneer of Christian monotheism and dogma with indigenous animism. It may
manifest itself in farmers seeking religious blessings on the irrice seed before planting
or in the placement of a bamboo cross at the comer of a rice field to prevent damage by
insects. It may also take the form of a folk healer using Roman Catholic symbols and
liturgy mixed with pre-Hispanic rituals.

When the United States took over the Philippines in the first half of the century, the
justifications for colonizing were to Christianize and democratize. The feeling was that
these goals could be achieved only through mass education (up until then education
was reserved for a small elite). Most of the teachers who went to the Philippines were
Protestants, many were even Protestant ministers. There was a strong prejudice among
some of these teachers against Catholics. Since this Protestant group instituted and
controlled the system of public education in the Philippines during the American colonial
period, it exerted a strong influence. Subsequently the balance has shifted to reflect
much stronger influence by the Catholic majority.

During the period of armed rebellion against Spain, a nationalized church was
organized under Gregorio Aglipay, who was made "Spiritualhead of the Nation Under
Arms." Spanish bishops were deposed and arrested, and church property was turned
over to the Aglipayans. In the early part of the 20th century the numbers of Aglipayans
peaked at 25 to 33 percent of the population. Today they have declined to about 5
percent and are associated with the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States.
Another dynamic nationalized Christian sect is the lglesia ni Kristo, begun around 1914
and founded by Felix Manolo Ysagun. Along with the Aglipayans and Iglesia ni Kristo,
there have been a proliferation of Rizalist sects, claiming the martyred hero of Philippine
nationalism, Jose B. Rizal as the second son of God and are incarnation of Christ.
Leaders of these sects themselves often claim to be reincarnations of Rizal, Mary, or
leaders of the revolution; claim that the apocalypse is at hand for non-believers; and
claim that one can find salvation and heaven by joining the group. These groups range
from the Colorums of the 1920s and 1930s to the sophisticated P.B.M.A. (Philippine
Benevolent Missionary Association, headed by Ruben Ecleo). Most of those who follow
these cults are the poor, dispossessed, and dislocated and feel alienated from the
Catholic church.

The current challenge to the supremacy of the Catholic church comes from a variety of
small sects -- from the fundamentalist Christian groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses
and Seventh Day Adventists, to the lglesia ni Kristo and Rizalists. The Roman Catholics
suffer from a lack of personnel (the priest to people ratio is exceedingly low), putting
them at a disadvantage in gaining and maintaining popular support. The Catholic church
is seeking to meet this challenge by establishing an increasingly native clergy and by
engaging in programs geared to social action and human rights among the rural and
urban poor. In many cases this activity has led to friction between the church and the
Marcos government, resulting in arrests of priests, nuns, and lay people on charges of
subversion. In the "war for souls" this may be a necessary sacrifice. At present the

largest growing religious sector falls within the province of these smaller, grass roots
sects; but only time will tell where the percentages will finally rest.

History of the Philippines Flag

Last modified: 2013-07-20 by ian macdonald
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 Article by Manuel L. Quezon III

 1898 flag

See also:

 Philippines
 Philippines: index of all pages

Article by Manuel L. Quezon III

History of the Philippine Flag

The effort to trace the history of the Philippine flag has been marked by controversy
and a paucity of reliable sources. Much of the commonly accepted evidence relies on
anecdotal sources. This is due to the loss of the first Philippine flag, and the lack of
actual flags dating back to the proclamation of Philippine independence and the
subsequent Filipino-American War (known as the 'Philippine Insurrection' in
American history.)

The Philippine Revolution began with the founding of the hitherto secret
Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan ('Highest and Most
Honorable Society of the Sons of the Nation') or Katipunan, a pseudo-Masonic
revolutionary movement, on August 19, 1896. A few days later, the Supremo or head
of the Katipunan, Andres Bonifacio (Nov. 30, 1863-May 10, 1897), proclaimed the
end of Spanish sovereignty, to which the Spanish Governor-General responded by
placing eight provinces under martial law.

by Jaume Ollé, 7 September 1996

by Jaume Ollé, 7 September 1996

The Katipunan's flag is commonly depicted as simply three white "K's" arranged on a
field of red, the three K's representing the initials of the Katipunan, the red field
symbolizing the blood with which members of the Katipunan signed their oaths upon
being inducted into the secret society.

In an attempt to adapt the evolution of the American flag for Philippine purposes, it
has been the fashion since the 1960s to trace the development of the flag to the
various war standards of individual Katipunan leaders. However, historians have
disputed the Philippine government's efforts as misleading. What is certain is that the
Katipunan had a flag, and leaders, such as the Supremo Andres Bonifacio, and leading
generals such as Emilio Aguinaldo, had their war standards. It is also clear that some
symbols common to Katipunan flags would be adopted into the iconography of the
Revolution. What is less clear is if all of the war standards can be deemed the
precursors of the Philippine flag.

1898 Flag

by Ma
nuel L. Quezon III, 2 April 2002

The Philippine flag was sewn by the revolutionary junta in Hong Kong and first
displayed in battle on May 28, 1898. It was formally unfurled during the proclamation
of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898, by President Emilio Aguinaldo. The
design adopted the mythical sun (with a face) common to many former Spanish
colonies; the triangle of Masonry; the eight rays represent the first 8 provinces that
revolted and were put under martial law by the Spaniards during the start of the
Philippine Revolution in 1896; the flag was first unfurled with the blue stripe above,
but was flown with the red stripe above upon the commencement of hostilities
between the Filipinos and Americans in 1899.

According to historians, based on anecdotal evidence and the few flags from the era
that have survived, the color of the original flag was the same blue and red as found
on the Cuban Flag. In addition, this writer suggests that one can trace the
characteristics -the triangle at the hoist, the stripes, to the Spanish colonial
navigational flags for the Philippines. The original symbolism of the Philippine flag is
enumerated in the Proclamation of Philippine Independence:

"Moreover, we confer upon our famous Dictator Don Emilio Aguinaldo all the powers
necessary to enable him to discharge the duties of Government, including the
prerogatives of granting pardon and amnesty;
"And, lastly, it was resolved unanimously that this Nation, already free and
independent as of this day, must use the same flag which up to now is being used,
whose design and colors are found described in the attached drawing, the white
triangle signifying the distinctive emblem of the famous Society of the Katipunan,
which by means of its blood-compact inspired the masses to rise in revolution; the
three stars, signifying the three principal islands of this Archipelago -Luzon,
Mindanao and Panay where this revolutionary movement started; the sun

representing the gigantic steps made by the sons of the country along the path of
Progress and Civilization; the eight rays, signifying the eight provinces -Manila,
Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna and Batangas- which
declared themselves in a state of war as soon as the first revolt was initiated; and the
colors of blue, Red and White, commemorating the flag of the United States of North
America, as a manifestation of our profound gratitude towards this Great Nation for
its disinterested protection which it lent us and continues lending us.
"And holding up this flag of ours, I present it to the gentlemen here assembled...
"Who solemnly swear to recognize and defend it unto the last drop of their blood."
(as translated by Sulpicio Guevara).

Unfortunately, the drawing mentioned in the proclamation of Philippine

independence, which would settle, once and for all, all controversies concerning the
original design of the Philippine flag, seems to have been lost. However, from the
photographs and images that exist, it is possible to reconstruct most of the details of
the Philippine flag, and point to the various components of the flag that have changed
over time, some of the changes becoming the basis for controversy.

The original design of the Philippine flag differs from what is familiar today, in the
following details:

 The sun: The eight-rayed Philippine sun was a mythical sun, with a face. There
seems to have been no definitive representation of the sun, however, beyond
its having a face and eight rays. Different numbers of minor rays, from one on
either side of the main ray, to three on either side of the main ray, and so on,
have been observed in photographs and prints.
 The stars: Besides having three, five-pointed stars, the positioning of the stars
does not seem to have been applied consistently or uniformly either.
 The triangle: It is clear that the original design of the Philippine flag did not
have an equilateral triangle.
 The shade of blue: This is the main controversy surrounding the Philippine
flag. A good synopsis of the debate has been written by Philippine historian
Ambeth Ocampo: "In 1955, the Heraldry Commission issued the official
specification for the Philippine flag. The shade of blue given was United States
Cable 70077, or navy blue. Earlier, all flags had been using navy blue.
However, the late Domingo Abella, the Director of the National Archives and a
member of the NHI [National Historical Institute] believed that the shade of
blue should be light blue, because he says that at the turn of the century when
the Philippine flag was finally allowed to fly and be displayed after years of

suppression, flag makers didn't have a supply of light blue cloth. Thus, they
used dark-blue cloth instead, perpetuating the mistake. No documentary
evidence was presented by Abella and so, he was not taken seriously till the
late Teodoro A. Agoncillo also supported the camp battling for the light-blue
flag. E. Aguilar Cruz, another member of the NHI stated in his monograph of
[Philippine revolutionary and artist] Juan Luna that he found a watercolor by
Luna which showed a Philippine flag with a light-blue field. [Aguinaldo's first
Prime Minister] Apolinario Mabini in one of his letters even proposed that the
blue in the flag of the Revolution be "azul celeste", or sky blue. The navy-blue
camp is supported by all extant flags having this color, plus the testimony of
Marcela Agoncillo, the only surviving daughter of Marcela Agoncillo, who
made the original flag which Aguinaldo waved to the crowd outside his
mansion in Cavite when he declared Philippine Independence. However, both
sides may be wrong, because in a letter to [sympathizer of the Filipino cause
and friend of Jose Rizal] Ferdinand Blumentritt in 1898 [Filipino revolutionary]
Mariano Ponce sent a drawing of the Philippine flag which showed that the
blue is "azul oscuro" which is in between "azul celeste" (sky blue or light blue)
and "azul marino" (navy or dark blue). So the blue in the flag is not sky blue
but a shade lighter than the present navy blue. This caused confusion among
the people. Someone mistook "lighter than the present blue" to mean sky
blue, which is wrong. The issue would have ended here had Ponce kept quiet
because in 1899, in one of the few letters he wrote in English, he told a Mr. Y.
Fukishama, "My dear sir, I am sending you, by parcel post, one scarf pin
representing our flag: please accept it as a poor souvenir. The blue color of the
sky means our hope in future prosperity through progress..."
Noted historian Carmen Guerrero Nakpil asserts that the original color was
"Cuban blue", although this assertion is itself subject to different
interpretations since there isn't an official shade for the color blue in the
Cuban flag. [See also: our page on the blue of the Philippines flag.]

 The dimensions: contemporary photographs from the Assembly convened at

Malolos, Bulacan, to ratify the proclamation of independence and Aguinaldo's
status as president, point to the Philippine flag having the dimensions of the
Spanish flag. That is: 2:3 up to 1:3.

Having been proclaimed, first, dictator-president of the Philippines, and then formally
elected President of the (First) Republic of the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo quickly
called for a Constitutional Assembly which in turn promulgated a Constitution and
established a Congress. However, in 1899, hostilities broke out between the

Philippines and the United States. Thus on February 4, 1899, General Aguinaldo, in
the name of the Republic and people he headed, declared war against the United
States. The Filipino flag was flown with the red field up, to show that a state of
hostility existed. On March 23, 1901, Aguinaldo was captured by the Americans. On
April 1, 1901, he swore allegiance to the United States, and ceased being president.
Resistance continued, however, and while the "Philippine Insurrection" was deemed
ended in 1903, armed resistance continued for some years after.

In 1907, as the elections for the First Philippine Assembly were to be held, Fernando
Ma. Guerrero, journalist and poet, decided to run as a candidate in Manila. Guerrero
wanted to be a candidate of the Gran Partido Nacionalista, but he and Justo Lukban
would not be nominated by the party to be its official candidates for the South and
North Districts of Manila. Guerrero and his supporters decided to walk out of the
Gran Partido Nacionalista . Guerrero set up the Liga Popular Nacionalista and won an
overwhelming victory. As one of Guerrero's young supporters, Teodoro M. Kalaw
later wrote, "During the tumultuous celebration of his [Guerrero's] victory, the
Filipino Flag was very openly displayed, and with great emotion. In contrast, the
American flag received very little attention. Many American officers considered this
an aspersion cast on the American sovereignty of the Islands. As a consequence, the
Civil Commission, a few days later, declared illegal the display of the Filipino flag,
and, in general, the use of any emblem used in the Revolution." This was the Sedition
Act of August 23, 1907.

Filipinos never gave up their loyalty to their flag; the national colors had already been
used in zarzuelas [a typical Spanish form of musical theater] in the costumes of
actresses as an allegory of the real thing. This was evidenced by the suppression of
Zarzuelas under the sedition act. On October 30, 1919, Governor General Francis
Burton Harrison signed into law the Philippine Legislature's Act repealing the Flag
Law. The bill had been sponsored by Senator Rafael Palma, whose brother, Jose
Palma, had written the lyrics for the Philippine National Anthem.

General Aguinaldo, in quiet retirement, made a statement and said, "The most historic
Filipino flag was the one we raised in Kawit, Cavite, it having been recognized and
saluted by the American squadron. It was the same flag that we used in Malolos,
Bulacan, and was defended by ours hosts [and] which, I believe, was finally deposited
in the caves of the northern Carballo mountins in Nueva Vizcaya." As a sign of
appreciation, a young businessman named Vicente Madrigal went to Malacañang to
present the Governor-General with a Philippine flag. A photograph was taken of the
occasion, showing Harrison flanked by Senator Palma and Madrigal, with the
American and Filipino flags behind them.

The flag in the picture, it can reasonably be assumed, followed the proportions of the
previously-banned Filipino flag.

by Manuel L. Quezon III, 2

April 2002
[Click on drawing for a larger image.]

For example, the above shows an actual photograph of the original design of the
Philippine flag, with the original design of the mythological sun, the dimensions of
the triangle, etc. However with the legalization of the Philippine flag, some historians
argue, the cloth available in most stores was the red and blue of the American flag, so
that the Philippine flag from 1919 onwards adopted the navy blue and shade of red of
the American colors. However, a process of simplification soon began. This is
evidenced by:

by Manuel L.
Quezon III, 2 April 2002

which shows the still-original dimensions (note triangle and shape of sun), the
adoption of the American shades of blue and red, but still a slightly more ornate sun.
The adoption of the American colors is further evidenced from a party flag from the
year 1922, which used the by-then well established Philippine national symbols of the
sun and red, white, yellow and blue.

On March 26, 1920, the Philippine Legislature passed Act. No 2928 which provided
for the adoption of the Philippine flag as the official flag for the Philippine Islands.
From 1919 until the eve of World War II, Flag Day would be celebrated on the 30th
of October, the day the ban on the Philippine flag had been lifted in 1919.

With the inauguration of the autonomous Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1936,

the president of the Philippines issued an Executive Order specifying the dimensions,
etc. of the Philippine flag. A copy of the order is shown in full on Executive Order
No. 23 issued by Manuel L. Quezon, as President of the Commonwealth, on March
25, 1936, contained the official description and specifications of the Filipino flag, the
need for which he based on the following grounds

1. Article XIII of the then-Constitution "prescribes what the Philippine National

Flag should be without giving descriptions and specifications";
2. Act. 2928 described "the construction of the Philippine Flag without the
necessary specifications of the different elements of the flag";
3. "[C]ompliance with this Act has not been uniformly carried out and has caused
the making of Filipino flags in disproportionate sizes with different allegorical
symbols of the flag.

In the Executive Order, various specifications were enumerated, which have come
down, more or less unchanged, to the present. Among the "changes" laid down by the
E.O. were the use of a plain sun ("solid golden sunburst without any markings") with
eight rays composed of one major beam and a minor beam on either side, and an

equilateral triangle ("Any side of the equilateral triangle is as long as the width of the
flag"). However, the colors of the flag were not defined in detail. The result was the
standardization of the flag, whose specifications have remained unchanged and in
effect from 1936 to the present. The new dimensions and standardization, together
with the American blue and red, can be seen below:

by Manuel L. Quezon III,

2 April 2002

The changes to the 1898 design were:

 Sun: The mythical sun was abolished and the number of rays standardized.
 Stars: The angle of the stars was codified.
 Color: No color was specified; the official colors would only be codified in 1955
by the National Historical Institute of the Philippines.
 Triangle: An equilateral triangle was codified.
 Dimensions: The ratio was made 1:2.

On June 12, 1941, Presidents Quezon and Aguinaldo, who had been political enemies
since 1922, publicly reconciled, and June 12, the anniversary of the proclamation of
Philippine independence and the unfurling of the Philippine flag and the first playing
of the Philippine national anthem, was commemorated officially for the first time
since the Filipino-American War. June 12 was made flag day, a proclamation that
would be reiterated over many subsequent administrations. However, with the
Japanese invasion and occupation of the Philippines in 1941, the Philippine flag was
once more banned. It was allowed to be hoisted again with the establishment of the
puppet (or Second) Philippine Republic. Accounts of the ceremonies held in October
1943, in which General Emilio Aguinaldo, first President of the first republic, hoisted
the flag, point to the 1936 flag being replaced with the 1898 design; At the same time,
the Commonwealth government-in-exile in Washington continued to use the 1936

Thus on October 14, 1943, in front of the Legislative Building in Manila, Jose P.
Laurel was inaugurated president of the Japanese-sponsored Republic of the
Philippines. The ceremony was, in many respects, identical to the ceremonies
inaugurating the Commonwealth of the Philippines almost eight years earlier. Like his
predecessor, Laurel wore a cutaway; a Filipino, not foreign prelate, gave the
invocation; and, according to one eyewitness, the crowd counted the exact number of
cannon shots that boomed after President Laurel took his oath of office - echoing the
resentment that had ensued over the American decision to grant Manuel Quezon only
19 guns in 1935. This time, Laurel would get a 21-gun salute. And, this time, the
Philippine flag would be hoisted to fly alone, as befitted a sovereign nation, which is
what the Japanese said the Philippines had become.

An eyewitness, Antonio M. Molina, a teacher at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran,

later described the event in his memoirs. Among other things, he wrote:

"Some five minutes before ten o'clock Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and Gen. Artemio
Ricarte, both of our defunct Revolutionary Government of 1898, hoisted the
Philippine Flag in the huge staff, to the tune of our national anthem, both hitherto
banned. This time the applause was deafening. For my part, I must confess that I was
unable to restrain some tears, even as I felt a knot in the throat. They were, indeed,
the expression of the conflicting sentiments that assaulted me: on the one hand, the
irrepressible satisfaction upon seeing our national flag flutter alone, at long last, and,
on the other hand, the fear of the shame that we might be making this flag
participate in such sickening histrionic exhibition. I was somewhat comforted,
however, upon recalling that, allegedly upon the suggestion of the Filipino leader,
Manuel Roxas, the navy blue of our flag - "the good, the genuine" as Spanish poet
Peman would say - had been substituted by a pale sky blue and that the proportion
of the triangle dimensions in relation to the rest of the flag had been altered. This
was the subliminal message of our protest, whereof the Japanese remained
unaware, to make manifest that our people are far from being gullible in the least."

There seems to be no other record of Manuel Roxas having suggested pale blue be
substituted for the dark blue previously in use; what seems more probable is that
Generals Aguinaldo and Ricarte had suggested that the specifications of the old flag
of Malolos be restored. After all, the flag that had been banned by the Japanese after
their conquest of the Philippines had been codified only under the Commonwealth, in
1936. The two Generals of the Malolos Republic, who had been reduced to obscurity
and political impotence during the American Regime, would have understandably
leaped at the chance to turn the clock back, restoring the symbol of their former glory.

The 1936 flag, with the navy blue, was restored upon the return of American forces in
October, 1944 and it was this flag and those colors that were hoisted upon the
recognition of Philippine independence by the United States on July 4, 1946. This
remained the case until 1985, when President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the colors
restored to the original Cuban blue and red. However the historians involved say that
the flag factories at the time only had a pale sky blue available in quantity, and so this
became the de facto official color. After the People Power Revolution in
February,1986, the Marcos colors and presidential seal and Marcos-era new national
motto were abolished and the pre-1985 flag restored.

by Manuel L. Quezon III,

2 April 2002

In 1998, for the centennial of the proclamation of Philippine independence, a law was
passed changing the color of the flag not to Cuban blue, but to royal blue, as a
compromise after a furious debate among historians and members of the public. The
law, Republic Act 8491, approved on February 12, 1998, specifies the following:

SECTION 4. The flag of the Philippines shall be blue, white and red with an eight-
rayed golden-yellow sun and three five-pointed stars, as consecrated and honored by
the people.

SECTION 26. The period from May 28 to June 12 of each year is declared as Flag
Days, during which period all offices, agencies and instrumentalities of government,
business establishments, institutions of learning and private homes are enjoined to
display the flag.

SECTION 27. The flag shall have the following proportions. The width of the flag, 1;
the length of the flag, 2; and the sides of the white triangle, 1.

SECTION 28. The technical specifications shall be as follows: The blue color shall
bear Cable No. 80173; the white color, Cable No. 80001; the red color, Cable No.
80108; and the golden yellow, Cable No. 80068.

The 1936 specifications in all other respects, however, remain in force.

Manuel L. Quezon III, 2 April 2002

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