Today in Philippine history, November 17, 1898, a provisional revolutionary government of the District of Visayas was inaugurated

Friday October 23, 2015 ()

On November 17, 1898 a provisional revolutionary government of the District of Visayas was organized as a political subdivision of the Malolos government. Steps were then taken to organize the towns in accordance with the regulations issued by General Emilio Aguinaldo. Roque Lopez was designated president of the revolutionary government of the District of Visayas. Upon the constitution of the government a manifesto was issued which reads in part as follows:

"The revolutionary government and the office of general of the liberating army having been thus constituted, it affectionately greets the sovereign people of the Visayas who have just succeeded in obtaining their liberty under the protection of God and of the Most Holy Virgin under the shadow of the tricolored flag and upon the basis of the constitution of the Philippine Republic."

Filipino regiment in Iloilo
(Filipino regiment in Iloilo)

The inauguration ceremonies was held at the plaza of Santa Barbara, Iloilo where the Philippine flag was raised by General Martin Delgado, marking the first time the national flag was hoisted outside of Luzon. This flag was sewn by Patrocinio Gamboa patterned after the national flag created by Marcela Agoncillo. As the flag reached the top of the pole, the plaza was filled with the cries of "¡Fuera España! ¡Viva Filipinas! ¡Viva Independencia!" The band accompanied the inauguration with Marcha Libertador, a hymn for the revolution composed by Posidio Delgado, brother of General Martin Delgado. This event was to be known as the "Cry of Santa Barbara".

Subsequently an assembly was called and the revolutionary government of the Visayas was changed to the "Federal State of Visayas". Official records show that this change was made by 71 representatives of the government of the army and of the people. Aguinaldo was notified of the change of administration. The government was entrusted to a council of state with the following officials:

  • President of the Council of State, Señor Roque Lopez;
  • Vice President, Señor Vicente Franco;
  • Councilors for Iloilo: Sr. Jovito Yusay, Sr. Ramon Avanceña, Sr. Julio Hernandez, and Sr. Magdaleno Javellana;
  • Members ex-officio from the army: Sr. Martin Delgado, and Sr. Pablo Araneta;
  • Councilor for Cebu: Sr. Fernando Salas.
  • Councilors for Occidental Negros: Sr. Agustin Montilla, for the south; Sr. Juan de Leon, for the north;
  • Councilor for Oriental Negros: Sr. Juan Carballa;
  • Councilor for Antique: Sr. Vicente Gella;
  • Councilor for Capiz: Sr. Venancio Concepcion.
  • Councilor for the District of La Concepcion: Sr. Numeriano Villalobos;
  • General Secretary of the Council of State: Sr. Francisco Villanueva;
  • Vice Secretary: Sr. Florencio Tarrosa.

When General Miller in December, 1898, tried to take Iloilo by persuasion, President Roque Lopez said:

"In conjunction with the people, the army and committee, we insist upon our pretension not to consent, in our present situation, to any foreign interference without express orders from the central government of Luzon."

When further negotiations for the peaceful surrender of Iloilo was made by General Miller who insisted that by the benevolent proclamation of January 5, Iloilo should be turned over to the United States, President Lopez said:

"Let the American commander sincerely tell us which authority we should prefer: That of the United States, arising under the treaty of Paris of December 10, 1898, with which we are not acquainted because we have not been legally notified thereof, or the legitimate authority of the revolutionary government of Malolos, based upon acts of conquest, prior to the said treaty of peace, and on natural bonds created by the policy and constitution established since the first moment of the revolution, on August 11, 1896?"

"In view of all the foregoing, we insist upon not consent with the landing of your forces without express orders from our central government in Malolos."

By February 1, 1899, Lopez and the other principal officials abandoned the government. Jovito Yusay was subsequently appointed president of the council. On April 28, 1899, in as much as many of the officials of the council had already surrendered or had been captured, Aguinaldo abolished the Federal Council of the Visayas and instead appointed politico-military governors of most of the Visayan provinces.

Earlier on November 6, 1898 the Spanish officials surrendered themselves in Negros to the native leaders and a provisional government was established with Aniceto Lacson as president. There were also secretaries of war, of the treasury, of justice, of commerce, and of agriculture and a military commander. This government was dissolved when the Americans occupied Negros.


  1. The Visayas during the Philippine Revolution, Philippine Presidential Museum and Library
  2. The Development of Philippine Politics, Maximo M. Kalaw, Oriental Publishing Co., Manila
  3. The Kahimyang Project
  4. Photo credit: Arnaldo Dumindin via the Philippine Presidential Museum and Library


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