Memorial day for 1M Filipinos who died in war vs US set

Philippine Army troops during the Filipino-American War. (ADLIF image)

A BILL commemorating the Philippine-American War and the sacrifice of one million Filipino lives has been unanimously passed on third and final reading.

House Bill 7260, seeking to declare February 4 of every year as a special working holiday to be known as the “Philippine-American War Memorial Day” or “Araw ng Paggunita sa Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano” was passed with 175 votes without abstention.

The bill principally authored by Rep. Antonio Tinio aims to commemorate the sacrifice and bravery of th men and women who fought and died in defense of the Filipino nation during the Philippine-American war that started on February 4, 1899.

The bill seeks to require the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to ensure that appropriate activities are conducted in schools at all levels to memorialize “Philippine-American War Memorial Day.”

Likewise, it mandates the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to provide the DepEd, CHED, and the general public with the necessary information to ensure a meaningful observance of the “Philippine-American War Memorial Day.”

To ensure a yearly budget for the commemoration, the agencies concerned shall fund the activities through an annual appropriation.

Tinio said as a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices and bravery of the country’s ancestors in resisting and fighting the invading forces in the face of overwhelming odds and giving up their lives defending the ideals of a truly independent nation, every Filipino citizen should repay them by honoring and commemorating their martyrdom and solidarity through the proposed declaration.

“The struggle waged by Filipinos to defend the freedom newly-won from Spain and uphold the First Republic of the Philippines against the occupation forces of the U.S. has been described as one of the most heroic struggles ever waged in modern times, a struggle waged against implacable odds and at terrible cost,” said Tinio.

The war showed Filipino solidarity and the resolute refusal to submit to imperial aggression, said Tinio.

He said with their overwhelming military and economic advantages, the occupation forces of the United States unleashed a brutal military campaign to stop popular resistance to the imposition of colonial rule.

“Enjoying the overwhelming support of the people throughout the archipelago, the armed forces of the First Republic, led by President Emilio Aguinaldo, waged a fierce and determined war of resistance as the invading forces launched major campaigns, notably in the provinces of Central Luzon, the Ilocos and Cordillera, Panay and Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog and Mindanao,” said Tinio.

Other authors of the measure are Reps. France Castro, Ramon Durano VI, Karlo Alexei Nograles, Celso Lobregat, Mark Go, Isagani Amatong, Ron Salon, Jesus Nonato Sacdalan, Evelina Escudero, Sol Aragones, Angelina Tan, Evelyn Mellana, Rosanna Vergara, Rodrigo Abellanosa, Wilfredo Caminero, Joseph Stephen Paduano, and Rogelio Neil Pepito Roque.

p: wjg