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June 12 Independence Day celebration upholds a lie

/ 12:05 AM June 12, 2015

In the book “Philippine History and Government, Through the Years” written by Francisco M. Zulueta and Abriel M. Nebres, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and the revolutionaries accepted the amnesty offered by Spanish Governor General Primo de Rivera at the Pact of Biak na Bato. This was tantamount to giving up the rebellion. The injured were compensated for their wounds, and Aguinaldo was given P400,000 and exiled to Hong Kong.

While in exile, he met Commodore George Dewey and the crew of the American fleet who were waging war against Spain. Aguinaldo had the idea that the Americans could help him secure Philippine independence from Spain. He continued his rebellion and bought arms from Singapore and immediately returned to the Philippines on board McCulloch, Commodore Dewey’s ship. He arrived in Cavite on May 19, 1898.

Less than a month later, specifically on June 12, 1898, he proclaimed in Kawit, Cavite, Philippine independence from Spain. But this proclamation was subsequently invalidated by the Treaty of Paris, a peace agreement that ended the Spanish-American War. Under this treaty, Spain ceded to America the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico, for which America paid Spain $20 million.

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The Philippines never received independence from Spain. Instead the Philippines became the property of the United States—from Dec. 10, 1898 until July 4, 1946, when America granted the Philippines genuine independence and made the Philippines a republic.

However in 1962, when Diosdado Macapagal was president of this republic that America made, he issued Proclamation No. 28, affirming Aguinaldo’s proclamation of Philippine independence from Spain, which had been invalidated by the Treaty of Paris. Later, Proclamation No. 28 became Republic Act No. 4166, which directed that Philippine Independence Day be moved from July 4 to June 12 and that it be celebrated on the latter date. But remember, RA 4166 affirmed a proclamation of Philippine independence from Spain, which was never attained.

It was America that gave the Philippines its true independence and this was done on July 4, 1946. Celebrating Philippine independence on June 12 is like saying that the Philippines got its independence from Spain, which is a blatant lie. Therefore Filipinos celebrating Independence Day on June 12 are liars on this issue.

Filipinos must stop celebrating Independence Day on June 12, otherwise they will be liars forever. I have sent two letters to each representative and senator since July 15, 2012, requesting them to repeal or revise RA 4166, to correct this historical error. To this day, not one of them has made a move in this direction.

All Filipinos must know that the Tydings-McDuffie Law passed by the US Congress gave the Philippines its independence on July 4, 1946. There is nothing on record about any objection to its being of the same date as the American Independence Day. Instead, when Philippine Independence Day was still being celebrated on July 4, there was pride and honor among Filipinos who were grateful to attain genuine national independence after only 48 years of American occupation.

—FELIZARDO M. PAGSANHAN, felizardopagsanhan@yahoo.com

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TAGS: Abriel M. Nebres, Diosdado Macapagal, Emilio Aguinaldo, Francisco M. Zulueta, George Dewey, Independence Day, Pact of Biak na Bato, Primo de Rivera, Tydings-McDuffie Law
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