Today in Philippine history, June 12, 1962, the "June 12" Independence Day, was observed for the first time

Wednesday February 26, 2014 ()

The June 12, 1898 independence declaration
(The June 12, 1898 Independence Declaration)

On June 12, 1962, the "June 12" Philippine Independence Day, was observed for the first time throughout the country and was celebrated most impressively in Manila. Both President Diosdado Macapagal and the aged General Emilio Aguinaldo took part in the afternoon ceremonies on the Luneta.

The celebration included a Philippine Armed Forces largely motorized parade which took two hours to pass the Luneta grandstand and in which several small units of the United States Army and Air Force participated, and a civic parade which took an hour longer. President Macapagal delivered one of the most eloquent addresses of his career.

The ceremonies closed with a moving re-enactment by a group of actors of the reading of the independence declaration of June 12, 1898, a replica of the Aguinaldo home at Kawit, Cavite, from the balcony of which the declaration was read sixty-four years ago, having been erected for the purpose in front of the Luneta grandstand.

Today in Philippine history,  June 12, 1962, the "June 12" Independence Day, was observed for the first time

General Aguinaldo who arrived with his wife, accompanied by a doctor and several nurses, had to be carried to his seat, and his brief remarks, in Tagalog, were read for him by Secretary of Education Alejandro R. Roces, Chairman of the Independence Day National Committee. He thanked the President and the Filipino people for the recognition given the day and he also thanked America for restoring Philippine independence. He ended with a plea for support of the remaining old veterans quite a number of whom had marched in the parade and for whom a section of the grandstand had been reserved.

The morning papers (June 12) had carried a message from US President John Kennedy to President Macapagal, transmitted by Ambassador Stevenson the day before through the Department of Foreign Affairs:

"It is with pleasure that I join the people of the United States in extending our best wishes and warmest felicitations to Your Excellency and the people of the Republic of the Philippines on the occasion of Philippine Independence Day."

Similar messages had been received from a number of other heads of state, including Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

In his speech President Macapagal reviewed the history of Philippine resistance to and uprisings against foreign aggression and domination, beginning with Lapu-Lapu's defiance of Ferdinand Magellan who was killed in the battle on Mactan in 1521. He spoke of Rajah Soliman, of Rajah Lakandula, of Magat Salamat, of Francisco Dagohoy, of Diego Silang and his wife Gabriela, of Apolinario de la Cruz, and finally of Jose Rizal! Andres Bonifacio, and Emilio Aguinaldo.

"There had been", the President said, "other Asian revolutions before. But the revolution which culminated on June 12, 1898, was the first successful national revolution in Asia since the coming of the West, and the Republic to which it gave birth was the first democratic republic outside of the Western Hemisphere."

Macapagal concluded hs speech by saying:

"Let us then, all of us, on this day of solemn commemoration, relying mainly upon our own efforts, consecrate ourselves anew to the great ideals that animated our heroic forebears, the ideals of excellence in creation and production, excellence in learning and wisdom, and excellence in patriotism and sacrifice, for the country's honor and dignity and freedom."

The Philippine Independence Day celebration was observed on July 4, the day the Philippines was granted independence on July 4, 1946 by America until it was moved to June 12 by President Macapagal on May 12 a month earlier.

It was generally considered that the fixing of the date of the inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines on July 4 (Section 10 of the Tydings-McDuffie Act), on which date the United States annually celebrates the establishment of its own independence, thus sharing the pride of this day with the Philippines, was both a historically fitting and a deeply friendly gesture.

Today July 4 is celebrated as "Filipino-American Friendship" day.


  1. Philippine News Agency archives
  2. American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Pages 300-304, Volume XXXVIII Number 6 June, 1962


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