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Jun 17th
Home Sections History Reconciling the 1898 and 1946 Philippine-Independence Days
Reconciling the 1898 and 1946 Philippine-Independence Days PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - History
Tuesday, 03 July 2007 18:29

Part One of Two Articles.

By Bobby M. Reyes


My Filipino-Australian friend, Pol Bautista, sent me an e-mail yesterday, July 3, 2007, from Sydney. Pol said that the July 4, 2007, issue of the Philippine Star had an article that quoted my essay about the 1946 Philippine-Independence Day. Here are excerpts of the "Inside Cebu" column of Bobit S. Avila.

B obit Avila's article is entitled, "The truth is we were born on the 4th of July!" QUOTE. Whether you accept this truth or not, 61 years ago, the Philippines became a truly independent state free from its colonial master in a ceremony where the United States of America lowered its flag (back then the Stars and Stripes only had 48 states) and all foreign governments confirmed this act by recognizing Philippine sovereignty.


In short, today should be celebrated as the country’s real Independence Day as provided for on Aug. 29, 1916, by the Jones Law and amended on March 24, 1934, with the Tydings-McDuffie Law, which clearly stated, "An Act to Provide for the Complete Independence of the Philippine Islands, to provide for the Adoption of a Constitution and a Form of Government for the Philippine Islands, and for other Purposes."


But why are we so troubled as a nation today 61 years after being granted true independence by the United States of America? I can only say that it is because our politicians bend the truth for their own political purposes. The Declaration of Independence by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was for many Filipinos a farce as it did not blossom into a real working government nor did foreign governments ever recognize it. It was the act of a man raising the Philippine flag inside the safety and comfort of his home in Kawit. In short, Gen. Aguinaldo’s act was merely another war for Philippine Independence, no different from Lapu-Lapu’s fight against the Spanish invaders or the Dagohoy Revolt against the Spaniards in Bohol.


Checking the Internet for bits of history on this issue, I came across an article written by Bobby Reyes, a "media advocate and founder of the Media Breakfast Club (MBC)" who was also the main organizer of the Philippine-American exhibits and shows that occasionally grace the halls of the West Covina Mall in Southern California. He wrote the article way back in 1996 entitled "The True Philippine Independence Day" and let me extract a quote from his article:


"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." (MabuhayRadio.com’s Editor’s Note: To read the rest of Bobby Reyes’ article, please go to http://www.bibingka.com/phg/misc/july4.htm)


Speaking of the Internet, if you go to Google and check the timeline for Philippine history, you will not see June 12 as the date of Philippine Independence, rather you will read that Philippine Independence was granted by the US Congress and carried out on July 4, 1946, with Manuel Roxas as the first President of the Philippine Republic. So when will our political leaders tell the real truth about our history?


I don’t know when. But let me say it here that the average Filipino knows that many of our politicians (politicians throughout the world share this trait) are born liars and if they can lie about our history, then they can lie about anything. Hence, every time this issue comes up, we shall always write the whole truth and nothing but the truth about how and when the Philippines truly gained its independence and sovereignty. UNQUOTE.


To read Bobit Avila’s column in its entirety and his past articles, please access them at www.philstar.com. For e-mail responses to his instant article, please write to vsbobita@mozcom.com. He also hosts a weekly talkshow, "Straight from the Sky," shown every Monday, 8:00 p.m., only in Metro Cebu on Channel 15 of SkyCable.


The conflict between the 1898 and 1946 Philippine-Independence Days surfaced in 2003, when I was elected the chairman of that year’s Filipino Independence Fiesta and Parade at the Historic Filipinotown District of Los Angeles, California. Some friends ribbed me for accepting the chairmanship for the event that was actually sponsored by the Philippine Consulate General (PCG), which conducted also the election. Wags asked how could I justify celebrating the 1898 declaration of Philippine Independence when I wrote in 1996 that the homeland became free only on July 4, 1946? The same question arose when I was elected again in an election conducted also by the PCG in 2005 for the chairmanship of the 2006 Kalayaan Philippine Independence Steering Committee. In both occasions, I was able to defend what some pundits thought was a contradictory position.


Yes, I was able to do a reconciliation of the 1898 and 1946 Filipino Independence Days without appearing to be a "balimbing" (turncoat). And my explanation made both the 1898 and 1946 proponents satisfied and relatively happy with their respective beliefs.


(I will explain the reconciliation process in Part II, The Fourth of July Is RP-US "Interdependence Day" )



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