Filipino-American Friendship Day

Posted on July 4, 2010

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The 4th of July is a very important federal holiday in the U.S. It was during this date in 1776 that the original thirteen American colonies declared their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. The 4th of July is also being commemorated as the Filipino-American Friendship Day.

It is not a mere coincidence of dates but is actually intentional. From 1946 to 1962, the 4th of July was originally celebrated as the Philippine Independence Day — a token independence granted by the U.S. It was an independence granted not because of noble intentions but more so because of administrative convenience.

It was not until President Diosdado Macapagal issued a presidential proclamation shifting the date to June 12 to commemorate the more meritorious Philippine independence. It was on the said date in 1898 that the Philippine revolutionary government, headed by General Emilio Aguinaldo, declared independence from Spain. The commemoration date became more official and permanent when President Macapagal signed Republic Act No. 4166, declaring June 12 as a national holiday celebrating the Philippine declaration of independence.

However, neither the 4th of July or the 12th of June can be truly considered as Philippine independence day. The 1898 declaration eventually became an aborted independence, thanks to the imperialist ambitions of the U.S. On the other hand, the 1946 granting of so-called independence was a mere facade. The Americans continued to enjoy Parity Rights and the U.S. military bases stayed until 1992. Even today, the U.S. continue to exercise heavy influence on Philippine politics, economy and culture.

Is there real reason to celebrate?

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