Letters to the Editor

Flag Days, not just Flag Day

The Philippine Star

May 28 is Day One of the Flag Days when all government offices, corporations, agencies including local government units all over the country are to prominently display the Filipino flag until the celebration of national independence on June 12, per Executive Order number 179, series of 1994.

May 28, 1898 – or 126 years ago – is to be remembered as the first time Filipino soldiers led by General Emilio Aguinaldo overran a rather big contingent of superiorly-armed Spanish soldiers manning the fort in Alapan, Imus, in the province of Cavite.

Moments after the battle, the triumphant Aguinaldo instructed a soldier to take out from one of his followers the newly minted Filipino flag on a pole, held the pole himself and began waving the flag in the usual motion from the left to the right, repeating the action several times until he decided to hoist it atop some high point or flag pole of the former Spanish garrison amidst the shouting of the Filipino crowd, including the nearby villagers who quickly went to cheer the winning troops.

Then president Fidel V. Ramos signed EO 179 on May 24, 1994 as part of remembering the victory at Alapan as well as to create awareness for June 12 in celebrating the nationhood of the Philippines, the first in Asia to declare its independence from a colonizer.

Until the Independence Day celebration on June 12, establishments and facilities owned, operated or used by the government are mandated to prominently display in their respective areas the Filipino flag, something normally expected only in schools and government offices.

Previous to 1994, May 28 every year was declared as National Flag Day by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 374, series of 1965, to commemorate the national emblem that was unfurled the very first time after the Philippine Revolutionary Army defeated the Spanish forces.

Some of the country’s prominent national officials will join Cavite officials as well as history and culture enthusiasts at the flag raising ceremonies in an area near the battle site in Barangay Alapan.

Sewn in five days in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, her sister Lorenza Agoncillo and Delfina Herbosa, the flag was made of 100 percent silk and became known as “The Three Stars and a Sun Flag.”

On June 12, Aguinaldo, along with other leaders of the revolution, declared independence before a crowd of Filipino natives and foreign guests in his Kawit, Cavite residence and the Filipino flag flew on a pole while the San Francisco de Malabon Marching Band played the Marcha Filipina Magdalo, later to be known as the national anthem.

The independence declaration was written and read by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista. Ninety-eight persons signed the declaration, including an army officer of the United States. – Manly Garcia [email protected]

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