June 12 is the Philippine Independence Day, recognized through Proclamation No. 28 signed by then President Diosdado Macapagal on May 12, 1962 citing Emilio Aguinaldo’s establishment of the Philippine Republic from Spain. Congress then formally designated June 12 as the date of Philippine independence by passing Republic Act No. 4166 in 1964.
Despite what Aguinaldo said that June 12 marked our people’s declaration and exercise of our right to self-determination, liberty and independence, the United States which gained control of the Philippines from the Spaniards, refused to recognize it so in essence Philippine independence was not won in 1898.
When I was growing up, Philippine Independence Day was July 4 which to me make more sense.
In 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established with U.S. approval and Manuel L. Quezon was elected the country’s first president. On July 4, 1946, the Republic of the Philippines was granted full independence by the United States.
In the book by Stanley Karnow “In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines”, it says there were so much corruption when President Diosdado Macapagal was in power and so:
Macapagal concocted nationalist issues as a distraction. Resorting to an old tactic, he expelled numbers of Chinese, many of them naturalized citizen. He deported an American businessman, Harry Stonehill, who had amassed an estimated $50 million from real estate, tobacco and other enterprises, allegedly with help from Filipino politicians, including members of Macapagal’s cabinet. To everyone’s relief, Stonehill took his secrets with him. Macapagal won nationalist applause by shifting the national holiday, July 4, the anniversary of independence from the United States in 1946, to June 12, the day in 1898 that Emilio Aguinaldo, chief of Filipino nationalists, declared Philippine sovereignty.
Years afterward, Macapagal told Karnow the real reason for the change: “When I was in the diplomatic corps, I noticed that nobody came to our receptions on the Fourth of July but went to the American Embassy instead. So, to compete, I decided that we needed a different holiday.”
June 12 is the date of our independence from the Spanish regime. But by then we were not totally independent. We went under the American rule and then the Japanese Occupation. The Philippines finally gained complete independence on July 4, 1946, a date chosen to coincide with Independence Day in the United States.
As usual, politicians made mockery of our history for their political gain.