RP-US friendship day
|Posted by Manila Mail under Editorial|
No matter what many may say, July 4 is still a historic date for the Philippines. This was the day in 1946 when the United States relinquished its occupation of the Philippines and by doing so, indirectly restored the independence that was proclaimed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and his followers in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.
Of course, the United States, as an official policy, will never acknowledge that there was already an independent Philippine when it occupied the country. To do so would make it guilty of taking over a country that had just proclaimed its independence.
For almost two decades, Filipinos celebrated July 4th as their own independence day. But that was until 1964 when President Diosdado Macapagal, father of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, reset it to June 23 through a Presidential Proclamation. Macapagal said this was to acknowledge the heroism and patriotism of the Katipuneros and the significance of the first declaration of Philippine independence by President Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898. This was the day when the first Philippine flag was unfurled and raised.
Since then, July 4th has been designated by succeeding administrations as Philippine-American friendship day. But they have lost interest in making it an official celebration. They left it to the private sector to celebrate it together with the US embassy.
Many Filipinos in the US and in the Philippines celebrate friendship day in recognition of the special relationship between the two peoples, a relationship that is the result of the introduction of the American educational system and democracy at the turn of the century.
It has become a celebration to highlight the enduring relations between the two countries and the factors that strengthen these ties, including a shared history and a common commitment to democratic values.