Why is Jan. 23 not a na­tional holiday?


Manila Bulletin - - Luzon News - By FRED­DIE C. VELEZ

MALO­LOS CITY, Bu­la­can — It has been nearly 118 years since the procla­ma­tion of the Malo­los Con­sti­tu­tion – the mother Char­ter es­tab­lish­ing the Philip­pines as a sov­er­eign state – and the nag­ging ques­tion among many Filipinos re­main: “Why is it so ob­scured in his­tory that we can­not even rec­og­nize it as a na­tional holiday?”

His­to­ri­ans said that by virtue of his sov­er­eign power, the coun­try’s first Pres­i­dent Emilio Aguinaldo de­creed and sanc­tioned the po­lit­i­cal Con­sti­tu­tion of the state, done in Malo­los, on Jan. 21, 1899, and af­ter two days the First Philip­pine Repub­lic was es­tab­lished with the procla­ma­tion of the Malo­los Con­sti­tu­tion on Jan. 23, 1899.

And with its es­tab­lish­ment, Aguinaldo or­dered: “There­fore: I com­mand all the au­thor­i­ties, civil as well as mil­i­tary, of what­ever class or rank, to keep it and cause it to be kept, com­plied with and ex­e­cuted in all its parts, be­cause it is the sov­er­eign will of the Filipino peo­ple.”

This was how it was said at the assem­bly of al­most a hun­dred Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from all over the Philip­pine Is­lands. The head of Congress then was Pe­dro A. Paterno and Sec­re­taries Pablo Tec­son and Pablo Ocampo.

With 10 days be­fore this day in his­tory marks its 118th an­niver­sary, var­i­ous groups of con­cerned cit­i­zens in the prov­ince are ask­ing what ever hap­pened to House Bill 5156, filed in the last Congress by for­mer Bu­la­can 1st District Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Marivic R. SyAl­varado, which sought to de­clare Jan­uary 23 as a na­tional holiday in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the dec­la­ra­tion of the First Philip­pine Repub­lic.

Sadly, they said, it seems it is only in Malo­los City – the cra­dle of the First Philip­pine Repub­lic – where peo­ple mark this oc­ca­sion yearly with for­mal flag-rais­ing and wreath-lay­ing rites at the his­toric Bara­soain Church.

“Na­pakarami nang nan­gan­gako na tu­tu­long sa panukalang ito, sub­alit hang­gang sa kasalukuyan ay tila wala pang linaw. Mag­pa­hang­gang sa ngayon ay nakabin­bin pa din ito sa Kon­greso. Nang­yari ang procla­ma­tion ng Malo­los Con­sti­tu­tion sa Bu­la­can,sub­ali’t hindi ibig sabi­hin na para sa taga Bu­la­can lamang ito dahil na­ganap ‘yon para sa buong Sam­bayanang Pilipino tu­lad ng sin­abi ni Aguinaldo (it is the sov­er­eign will of the Filipino peo­ple),” they said.

For Bu­la­can Governor Wil­helmino M. Sy-Al­varado, hus­band of the for­mer con­gress­woman who au­thored and filed the bill in the 15th Congress, he fears Filipinos of this gen­er­a­tion may be even more ex­cited with cel­e­brat­ing the in­com­ing Year of the Rooster than the 118th an­niver­sary of our nationhood.

“Kung ang bawa’t Pilipino sa bansa ay isang tu­nay na mak­abayan at marunong lumin­gon sa pinang­galin­gan para sa at­ing mga ni­n­uno na nag­buwis ng buhay makam­tan lamang ang kalayaan, tiyak na hindi tu­tu­tol na mag­ing na­tional holiday ang First Philip­pine Repub­lic,” Al­varado said.

It was learned that a few years ago, the for­mer con­gress­woman laid out the sig­nif­i­cance of Jan­uary 23, 1899 when she filed House Bill 5156, “An Act Declar­ing that Ev­ery Year of Jan­uary 23 When the First Philip­pine Repub­lic was Es­tab­lished and Marked the Be­gin­ning of Filipino Democ­racy with Its Own Govern­ment, Be a Spe­cial Work­ing Holiday Philip­pine-wide.”

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