CITY OF MALOLOS—The Philippine flag was raised in Washington D.C. and Australia on Tuesday, as Americans and Australians joined this city’s 119th celebration of the First Philippine Republic Day.
Bells rang at the historic Barasoain Church here where Filipino leaders gathered on Jan. 23, 1899 to promulgate the Philippine Constitution that gave birth to the first republic in Asia.
The Constitution was drawn up by delegates to the Malolos Congress on Sept. 15, 1898 after President Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippine independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite.
In a speech, Undersecretary Marjorie Jalosjos of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said the event was celebrated for liberating the country from Spain.
Speaking as a representative of acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Jalosjos said the evil that hounded the country today was no longer foreign colonizers but was brought by problems like illegal drugs, terrorism and corruption.
The United States and Australia were some of the countries that recognize Republic Day, which remained a Bulacan event despite its historic relevance, said Mayor Christian Natividad.
“We celebrate the Chinese New Year but we have yet to celebrate as a nation the day when we crafted all the laws that created the First Republic,” Natividad said.
Last year, House Bill No. 477 declaring Jan. 23 a national holiday was approved. A counterpart bill was pending in the Senate. —CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE