Filipinos wrong to celebrate independence on June 12 | Inquirer Opinion
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Filipinos wrong to celebrate independence on June 12

/ 12:02 AM April 14, 2014

Republic act No. 4166 affirms Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s proclamation of Philippine independence from Spain, in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898. But that proclamation was invalidated by the Treaty of Paris, a peace agreement that ended the Spanish-American War. Under this treaty, Spain ceded the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States of America, for $20 million.

The Treaty of Paris was signed on Dec. 10, 1898. The Philippines never achieved independence from Spain; then a Spanish colony, it was appropriated by the United States as an American “commonwealth.” After taking over the Philippines from Spain, the United States established a commonwealth government for the Filipinos, complete with a preamble and a constitution.

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In the elections held in 1935, Manuel Quezon won as president and Sergio Osmeña as vice president. Through the unwavering efforts of Quezon, Osmeña and their group, they were able to convince the US Congress to grant independence to the Philippines. So, under the Tydings-McDuffie law, the US Congress granted independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946, and the Republic of the Philippines was born. This was announced to the whole world by then US President Harry S. Truman.

Years later, Diosdado Macapagal was elected the fifth president of the Philippine republic. Obviously unmindful of the Treaty of Paris’ invalidation of Aguinaldo’s proclamation of Philippine independence, Macapagal on May 2, 1962, issued Proclamation 28, “declaring June 12 as Philippine Independence Day.”

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Proclamation 28 later became RA 4166. It moved Philippine Independence Day from July 4 to June 12, in effect ordering all Filipino citizens to celebrate a false independence day. Both Macapagal’s proclamation and Congress’ RA 4166 are wrong. RA 4166 should have been submitted to a plebiscite for approval by Filipinos before it was signed into law. Failing that, Macapagal’s Proclamation 28 constituted an impeachable offense. He should have been impeached during his term.

The celebration of Philippine Independence Day on June 12 of every year is illegal and must be stopped. The 16th Congress should repeal RA 4166. We should be celebrating our country’s true and genuine independence day on July 4 to correct an error that has distorted the history of our independence and our country.

—FELIZARDO M PAGSANHAN,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s, History, Independence Day, nation, news
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