• June 12, here and elsewhere

    The historic waving of the Philippine flag by President Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898 at Kawit, Cavite

    The historic waving of the Philippine flag by President Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898 at Kawit, Cavite

    What other nations remember on this fateful date
    Today, June 12, 2015, the country officially marks its 117th year of independence.

    While there continues to exist much contention over the accuracy of celebrating this important date in history books—whether General Emilio Aguinaldo had simply defeated the Japanese occupation by allowing the country to come under the “protection” of the United States—Filipinos in general hold on to June 12 as the anniversary of the nation’s sovereignty.

    And, since the late president Diosdado Macapagal proclaimed this special holiday in 1962, Filipinos, whether here or abroad, have taken pride in being a free nation with celebrations from Cavite to Malacañang, and even small communities and barangays.

    For a change this year, The Manila Times’ Lifestyle Staff came to wonder what the date June 12 signifies in other nations. While it is a cause for celebration in the Philippines, with recollections of the flag flying proudly for the first time at the home of General Emilio Aguinaldo, what memories do others around the world have on the anniversary of our independence?

    Interestingly so, following June 12, 1898—whose events are summarized below—the date gave the world more reasons to celebrate through time with the birth of global icons and amazing human conquests, to—and quite ironically for Filipinos—the obstruction of freedom from situations caused by man to the effects of uncontrollable nature.

    Below is a series of turning points in world history, beginning June 12, 1898 in the proud nation of the Philippines.

    June 12, 1898: After the Asiatic Squadron of the US Navy defeated the Spanish forces in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. Emilio Aguinaldo, leader of the Philippine revolution, was transported back to the country from his exile in Hong Kong. He then established the first Philippine government and on June 12, he declared the first Philippine Independence at his house in Kawit, Cavite.

    June 12, 1901: Cuba included the Platt Amendment in its constitution making the country an American protectorate, which allowed the United States to “exercise the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence.”

    Purge20150612June 12, 1929: Anne Frank, one of the most celebrated Jewish victims of the Holocaust, was born. Her iconic diary was given to her as a gift on her birthday in 1942.

    June 12, 1937: The “Great Purge”, the political repression campaign of former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin, continued as eight Red Army generals were charged with treason for allegedly preparing a military attack against the Soviet Union.

    June 12, 1942: United States Army Air forces dropped bombs on Ploesti, Romania, to destroy oil refineries controlled by Nazi Germany.

    Mandela20150612June 12, 1964: Former president of South Africa and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for committing sabotage against the South African government.

    June 12, 1967: USSR’s Venera 4 probe was launched to explore Venus. It successfully brought back analysis of the planet’s atmosphere.

    June 12, 1967: The Supreme Court of the US ruled that states cannot outlaw interracial marriages in a 9-0 vote.

    June 12, 1991: Mount Pinatubo started erupting after 600 years, prompting the evacuation of military personnel at the Clark Airbase. The climactic explosion happened three days later.

    June 12, 2009: Protests broke out in Iran after the president elections results declared incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner of almost 60 percent of votes.


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    1. Philippine Independence Day is centered in celebrating the actual document signed on June 12,1898 by our Founding Fathers and its implications in creating a new nation governed by laws effectively severing ties from the Spanish Crown and declaring war against her. This document is the Foundational Text of the Republic of the Philippines and the birthdate of 100 Million Filipinos worldwide.

      Our national, social, cultural and political identity is anchored on this sacred document. That`s what we are celebrating, similar to how Mexico declared its Independence from Spain 12 years before they actually became free. Same with the United States who declared their independence on July 4, 1776, but did not actually became free from the British Crown until 1783.

      On that same day 98 Filipinos signed the document, the Philippine flag was formally presented and the national anthem was played for the first time.

      After the Declaration, on October 1898 the Spanish forces in the Visayas region was defeated, the Philippine National Flag was hoisted, and the Federal Republic of the Visayas centered in Iloilo was established.

      By the end of May 1899, the Republic of Zamboanga defeated Spanish forces in Mindanao and the last Spanish Governor surrendered to Filipino forces.

      Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Araw ng Kalayaan!

    2. By June 16, 1898 Filipino soldiers of independence have defeated Spanish forces in Luzon.

      By October 1898, the Spaniards were defeated by Filipino forces under the Federal Republic of the Visayas. Emilio Aguinaldo then sent a saber of command and a Philippine Flag to Gen. Martin Delgado and the Philippine Flag was hoisted in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo- the first outside Luzon, the Spanish governors formerly surrendering to Filipino forces in Iloilo and Bacolod- November 6 and December 23, 1898 respectively.

      By May 18, 1899, the last Spanish Governor in the Philippines surrendered to Filipino forces under the Republic of Zamboanga, led by Gen. Vicente Alvarez.

      Looking at our revolutionary past, it is clear that the Federal form of government is best suited to our country. Although the Federal Republic of the Visayas joined the central government led by Emilio Aguinaldo, time will tell if the Filipinos in Mindanao would have likewise joined.

      If the US did not interfere in Cuba, and Jose Rizal allowed by Spain to volunteer there as a Spanish doctor- a Filipino alliance with a black republic- which Cuba would have been -would most likely have made the Philippines forge a solid alliance with Cubans and Jose Rizal as president. There is also China`s Sun-Yat-Sen, recipient of $100,000 USD from the Aguinaldo Government (which they acquired from the Biak-Na-Bato Ceasefire agreement) who would have sent his army to help the Philippines, and help us secure arms and an alliance with Japan. Cuba-China-Japan alliance against the potential threat from Germany and the US would have been possible, and our nation would have had its glorious beginnings uninterrupted up to the present day. We would really have been much better off.

      If we continue to believe, that the greatest generation of Filipinos (Generation of 1898) does not deserve to steward our own country, then we will always be beholden to foreigners and never towards our own fellow Filipinos. How do we expect to gain a sense of ownership and responsibility in nation-building; when we believe we will never be good enough to call the shots?