Why is Jan. 23 not a national holiday?
ANOMALY IN NATIONHOOD
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.”