The Proclamation of Philippine Independence

Features Philippines Jun 10, 2016 at 4:25 pm
Gregorio del Pilar and his troops in 1898.  Source: Arnold Dumindin via

Gregorio del Pilar and his troops in 1898.
Source: Arnold Dumindin via

Declaration of Independence

With a government in operation, Aguinaldo thought that it was necessary to declare the independence of the Philippines. He believed that such a move would inspire the people to fight more eagerly against the Spaniards and at the same time, lead the foreign countries to recognize the independence of the country. Mabini, who had by now been made Aguinaldo’s unofficial adviser, objected. He based his objection on the fact that it was more important to reorganize the government in such a manner as to convince the foreign powers of the competence and stability of the new government than to proclaim Philippine independence at such an early period. Aguinaldo, however, stood his ground and won.

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On June 12, between four and five in the afternoon, Aguinaldo, in the presence of a huge crowd, proclaimed the independence of the Philippines at Cavite el Viejo (Kawit). For the first time, the Philippine National Flag, made in Hongkong by Mrs. Marcela Agoncillo, assisted by Lorenza Agoncillo and Delfina Herboza, was officially hoisted and the Philippine National March played in public. The Act of the Declaration of Independence was prepared by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, who also read it. A passage in the Declaration reminds one of another passage in the American Declaration of Independence. The Philippine Declaration was signed by ninety-eight persons, among them an American army officer who witnessed the proclamation. The proclamation of Philippine independence was, however, promulgated on August 1 when many towns have already been organized under the rules laid down by the Dictatorial Government.
(Source: History of the Filipino People. Teodoro A. Agoncillo)

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Proclamation of Philippine Independence

The most significant achievement of Aguinaldo’s Dictatorial Government was the proclamation of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898. The day was declared a national holiday. Thousands of people from the provinces gathered in Kawit to witness the historic event. The ceremony was solemnly held at the balcony of General Emilio Aguinaldo’s residence. The military and civil officials of the government were in attendance.
A dramatic feature of the ceremony was the formal unfurling of the Filipino flag amidst the cheers of the people. At the same time, the Philippine National Anthem was played by the band. Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista solemnly read the “Act of the Declaration of Independence” which he himself wrote. The declaration was signed by 98 persons. One of the signers was an American, L.M. Johnson, Colonel of Artillery.

The Philippines: A Unique Nation. Dr. Sonia M. Zaide