By: Joe Mauricio
The Philippine Independence Day is a Philippine offi cial holiday to celebrate the Cry of Independence of June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite, which started a revolt against the Spanish colonialism. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the father of the Philippine Independence, proclaimed our independence from the Spaniard’s occupation, Spanish rule in the Philippines, redistribution of land and racial equality.
Thousands of native Filipinos and mestizos fl ocked to Kawit, and soon the peasant army known as Katipunan, was on the march to Maynilad. Aguinaldo’s populist army of Katipunan closed in to capture Maynilad. Ironially, it was the mestizos, Filipino-Spanish descent abd Spanish sympathizers brought about our Independence in 1898.
In 1820, liberals took power in Spain, and the new government promised reforms to appease the Aguinaldo Katipunan. In 1899, the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, an agreement between the Spanish colonial agreement and the Katipunan, created a truce between the two parties. Under the term of this agreement, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and other revolutionary leaders went to exile in Hong Kong.
At the outbreak of Spanish-American War. Commodore George Dewey sailed from Hong Kong to Manila Bay leading the squadron of Manila Bay. On May 1, 1898, Dewey defeated the Spanish in the Battleof Manila Bay. Later that month, the U.S. Navy transported Aguinaldo back to the Philippines. On June 12, 1898. Aguinaldo led the declaration of Independence from Spanish colonial rule.
The Philippine Independence was not recognized by America or Spain. The Spanish government later ceded the Philippines to the United States of America in 1898 under the Treaty of Paris. Aguinaldo issued a decree and in a historic statement declared June 12, 1898 as the day of the proclamation of Philippine Independence. Led by Aguinaldo, this event took place at the Aguinaldo’s house located in what was then called as “Cavite El Viejo”. But, the Philippines failed to win international recognition of its independence, including Spain and United States.
The United States granted independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946 through the Treaty of Manila. July 4th independence observance was offi cially held until 1962. On May 12, 1962, then-President Macapagal declared June 12 as a special public holiday for the Filipinos — in commemoration of our people’s declaration of their inherent and inalienable rights to freedom and independence. Happy Independence to all! Mabuhay ang Kalayaan ng Pilipino!