Photo Courtesy of lumina.com.ph
On August 29, Filipinos celebrate their country's independence and growth through their heroes for National Heroes of the Philippines Day. The Philippines, as a Southeast Asian country, has a rich history of establishing its own national identity, and this day honors the leaders and individuals who fought for their country's respect and freedom.
The Philippines was under Spanish colonial rule since the early 1500s. During this time, the Philippines was not recognized as an independent nation and instead had to serve Spain. The Philippine Revolution, which sought to overthrow Spanish rule, did not begin until the late 1890s. Filipinos gained the strength and resources to fight back thanks to the dreams and ambitions of Filipino leaders such as Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Emilio Aguinaldo.
Unfortunately, their problems would not end there, as the Spanish-American War would only bring another global entity into the fray: the United States of America. Despite US support for Filipinos seeking independence from Spanish rule, the Philippine-American War erupted in the late 1890s and early 1900s as a result of US interference with the Philippines' national identity.
Along with a tumultuous history of racism and degradation, the United States remained in the Philippines to assist in the rebuilding of the country's own political and social structures. Many Filipino leaders, particularly President Emilio Aguinaldo at the time, desired complete freedom to build their country on their terms.
Even though Aguinaldo was captured by American forces, resulting in an American victory in this war, the Philippines eventually recovered from its experiences with colonial rule. The Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916, Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, and Treaty of Manila in 1946 helped finally establish the Republic of the Philippines with a strong governing system that no longer required the US.
Students are taught about the extensive history of Spain in educational history books, but these brief sections on the Philippines can be easily overlooked in classroom lessons.
However, National Heroes of the Philippines Day puts the country in the spotlight. According to National Today, this annual event honors Filipinos who fought for their country against entities like the United States and Japan. Because of his presidential leadership in the Philippine Insurrection, many consider Emilio Aguinaldo to be the face of Philippine independence.
Filipinos are already showing their support for National Heroes Day. The Mausoleo Delos Veteranos De La Revolucion (Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution) was built in 1915 as a sacred place to honor Filipino leaders and comrades, according to ABS-CBN. This mausoleum is a powerful historical symbol to this day, and Filipinos visit it every year to remember their roots.
Filipinos are also commemorating the day by making public their own economic and political difficulties. ABS-CBN recently reported on Filipino labor coalition protests for government assistance; many jobs, such as traffic aides and street sweepers, do not receive adequate wages or employee benefits. So, in remembrance of their heroes who sought justice, this day provides an opportunity for these laborers to voice their inadequacies.
As Filipinos take to the streets and social media in their unique ways to commemorate National Heroes of the Philippines Day, it is important to recognize how they all honor their country's resilience. Through colonial rule, international wars, and national internal affairs, the Philippines' old and new leaders embrace their national identity to overcome obstacles.
Edited By: Dawlat Al Hennawy
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