Freedom is among the rights that Filipinos did not enjoy during the
Spanish rule. It was a struggle
for the Philippine revolutionary leaders to achieve independence from foreign
power. The Filipinos fought countless battles, resulting to bloody revolutions
since the 19th century under the Spanish government. The Filipino forces were
persistent to achieve independence for the country. In 1896, the Philippine
Revolution started, which incriminated Jose Rizal resulting to his execution on
allegations of treason and rouse the Katipunan in Cavite to organize in two
groups creating conflict. At the break of the Spanish-American war, the Filipino
leaders saw the war between Spain and America as an opportunity to free the
Philippines from the claws of the Spanish colony; hence, supported the
United States with military forces including indispensable intelligence.
summoned Aguinaldo to return to the Philippines from exile and with confidence
towards the pleasant US relations, Aguinaldo anticipated independence from Spain
with the help of America. Returning to the Philippines and leading the Filipino
troops to hold the fort of Luzon with success except for Intramuros, Aguinaldo
declared the Philippine Independence from the Spanish colonial government on
June 12, 1898 under the First Philippine Republic. The
Philippine National flag
was held up, and swayed proudly before the joyous cries of the Filipinos by 4:20
in the afternoon at General Aguinaldo’s balcony of his mansion in Kawit, Cavite.
Albeit, the fact that Spain lost the battle to the Filipino troops, Admiral
George Dewey schemed to convince the Spaniards to surrender to America. It was
an act of betrayal by America that no sooner short-lived the celebration of
Philippine independence when America annexed the Spanish colonies to include the
Philippines. The Filipino forces were determined to continue their efforts
against imperialist power leading to a bloody fight against the American Army in
February 1899 when America refused to grant Philippines the long-sought
The Philippine-American War erupted
in February 4, 1899 in the struggle of the Filipinos for freedom conflicting with the
interests of America to become a world power by establishing overseas empire to include
the Philippines under the US imperial rule. The Filipino forces applied conventional, then
guerrilla tactics in fighting against the US army as they become fully aware, under the
leadership of General Emilio Aguinaldo, of
the strength of the US military heavily equipped with superior firearms.
General Aguinaldo was captured in 1901, the insurgencies, particularly by the Muslim Moros in the
Southern part of the Philippines continued. Nonetheless, America was preparing
Philippines for independence that started with the creation of civil government.
The US President Woodrow Wilson promised
Philippine Independence and started to entrust authority over Filipino leaders with the establishment of the Philippine
Senate by a democratic election. The
Philippine Commonwealth, with elected President Manuel L. Quezon, was
instituted in 1935 under the Tydings-McDuffie
Act that granted Philippines its self-government, although the legislative power
was not absolute, which still required approval from the US President. At that
time, it was a good start towards the eventual Philippine Independence.
the events were gearing towards Philippine independence as promised by the United States of America,
the Japanese invasion and occupation bolstered in a surprise.
Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese but President Quezon along with Osmeña fled to
America. World War II broke out that created immense damage to Filipinos with
roughly about one million casualties. After the war, Manuel Roxas was elected
President in April 1946 for the independent Second Republic of the Philippines.
In a formal declaration, the American flag was lowered in Luneta, Manila and
raised the Filipino National flag in tri-color of red, white, and blue looked up
by proud Filipinos. Finally, independence was granted to the Republic of the
Philippines dated July 4, 1946. The National anthem of the Philippines was
played next to America’s. It was indeed a moment of liberating glory, for all
Filipinos after pools of blood were shed in many revolutions.
July 4, however, holds less inspiration for the Filipinos according to the
elected President of the Republic of the Philippines in 1961,
Macapagal believes that the June 12, 1896 declaration of the
independence by General Emilio Aguinaldo brings to memory the heroes of the
revolution and therefore, Philippine independence is best commemorated in honor
of the Filipino revolutionary heroes. Hence, President Macapagal changed the
date of celebration of the Philippine independence from July 4 to June 12, which
the Filipinos celebrate each year up to this time. Continue to The Philippines During Martial Law.