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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Pulumbarit

July 4: The 74th Philippine Republic Day

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

The Philippines is marking two important events on July 4: the 74th Republic Day and Philippine-American Friendship Day.

Republic Day commemorates the day the country regained its freedom on July 4, 1946 and officially became known as the Republic of the Philippines.

According to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), before that day, the Philippine and American flags were flown together because the country was a colony of the United States.

However, during the historic inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946, the Philippine flag was raised alone for the first time ever while the American flag was lowered.

Initially, the Philippines celebrated July 4 as Independence Day but in 1964, Republic Act 4166 was issued, officially changing the date of Philippine Independence from July 4 to June 12.

This commemorates the Filipino revolutionary leaders' declaration of independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite, in front of the ancestral house of the Philippines' First President Emilio Aguinaldo.

Spain had colonized the Philippines for more than 300 years, from 1565 to 1898.

Independence Grandstand

Meanwhile, the NHCP said a makeshift grandstand was constructed in front of the Rizal monument in Manila for the historic 1946 inauguration of the Philippine Republic.

Leading the inauguration riteswere President Manuel Roxas and Vice President Elpidio Quirino, who were elected less than three months earlier on April 23, 1946, the first postwar election.

Quirino would become president himself two years later. During his term, a grandstand would be constructed in Rizal Park, inspired by the makeshift grandstand for the 1946 inauguration rites.

Initially, the stadium was called Independence Grandstand but renamed Quirino Grandstand years after the death of Quirino.

Long road to freedom

According to the Official Gazette, the US formally recognized the independence of the Philippines on July 4, 1946, the culmination of a process that began 30 years earlier.

In 1916, when the Philippines was still a colony of the US, the Jones Law pledged the eventual recognition of Philippine independence.

Part of the Jones Law, passed by the US Congress on August 29, 1916 reads:

"Whereas it was never the intention of the people of United States in the incipiency of the war with Spain to make it a war of conquest or for territorial aggrandizement; and

Whereas it is, as it has always been, the purpose of the people of the United States to withdraw their sovereignty over Philippine Islands and to recognize their independence as soon as a stable government can be established therein; and

Whereas for the speedy accomplishment of such purpose it is desirable to place in the hands of the people of the Philippines as large a control of their domestic affairs as can be given them without, in the meantime, impairing the exercise of the rights of sovereignty by the people of the United States, in order that, by the use and exercise of popular franchise and governmental powers, they may be the better prepared to fully assume the responsibilities and enjoy all the privileges of complete independence..."

Another legislation was passed 18 years later -- the Philippine Independence Act (or the Tydings-McDuffie Act) of 1934, providing for a 10-year period to prepare for independence.

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