The Philippines will celebrate its 119th Independence Day (Araw ng Kasarinlan, also known as Araw ng Kalayaan) or the Day of Freedom on June 12, which marks the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1898. This year’s celebration is themed: “Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin” (Freedom Day 2017: Change that We Should Work on Together).
June 12 is also remembered as National Flag Day to commemorate the day the national flag was unfurled in Emilio Aguinaldo’s residence in Kawit, Cavite. All offices, agencies and instrumentalities of government, business establishments, institutions of learning and private homes are enjoined to display the flag by virtue of RA 8491 dated February 12, 1998 signed by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. The flag is seen in various places across towns and cities in the Philippines during the country’s Independence Day. Many cars also sport miniature flags on this day.
Background and History
From 1946 to 1964, July 4 was the date designated to celebrate Independence Day because it was in July 4, 1946 when the Americans formally ended their colonization of the Philippines. This also effectively ended the Commonwealth Government that they established in 1935. In 1964, then-President Diosdado Macapagal signed the Republic Act 4166 which moved the date from July 4 to June 12. This was done to make Filipinos “recall the heroes of the revolution against Spain and their acts of sublime heroism and martyrdom.” The Independence Day was celebrated in this date ever since.
This momentous occasion will be commemorated by government agencies and even private organizations in not only in the different parts of the country but also in different Filipino communities all over the world.
The country’s senator Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson will lead the 119th Independence Day celebration here as guest of honor and speaker. Sen. Lacson, who hails from Barangay Bayan Luma III in Imus District, will lead the traditional wreath-laying at the Aguinaldo Tomb and the ensuing flag-raising at the Shrine veranda at 8 a.m. The Imus and Kawit local government units have prepared programs of activities for the twin events (Manila Bulletin, 24 May 2017).
Local and provincial officials, descendants of General Aguinaldo and other luminaries will also grace the event. Thousands are expected to witness the program proper that will be participated in by municipal officers and employees, war veterans, civic groups, students and other organizations.
The President of the Philippines, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, is expected to officiate traditional Independence Day Celebrations at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park, Manila. He is also expected to meet diplomats at the traditional “Vin d’Honneur” celebrations in Malacanang Palace. His previous of trips going to Pag-asa Island in Spratlys on this day to raise the flag was reportedly cancelled (Sun Star Manila, 15 April 2017).
Pictures of the Celebration
Vin d'Honneur, June 12, 2016
Independence Day Parades, June 12, 2016