Don Sergio Osmeña Sr.'s "Declaration of Independence"
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - February 21, 2018 - 12:00am

The road to our independence was paved by a powerful speech delivered by our own Cebuano leader, the only Cebuano so far to have sat as president, Don Sergio Osmeña Sr.

There are those who reckon our independence on June 12, 1898 anchored on the "Aguinaldo Declaration" in Kawit, Cavite, at the home of the self-declared President of the Philippines. But our independence was never achieved on such gathering as the Americans merely replaced the Spanish colonizers via the Treaty of Paris signed on December 10, 1898. It should be known to all Filipinos that Aguinaldo sought the help of the Americans in ousting the Spaniards, as this was contained in his speech: "Under the protection of the mighty and humanitarian nation, North America, we proclaim and solemnly declare in the name and by the authority of the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands that they are and have the right to be free and independent of Spain."

Upon his election as the country's first Speaker of the Congress, Don Sergio delivered a speech at the Hall of the National Assembly in the Ayuntamiento in Intramuros:

"Gentlemen of the Assembly, with our consent, upon my conscience, as an Assemblyman and as a representative of the country, and on my responsibility as speaker of this House, I declare solemnly before God and before the world that we believe that our people aspire for independence; that they consider themselves capable of conducting an ordered life, efficacious for themselves and for others in the concept of free and civilized nations; and that we believe that if, at this instant, the people of the United States should decide the case of the Filipinos in favor of their liberty, they would, upon assuming all the responsibilities, be able to comply with their duties to themselves and to others, without detriment to liberty, justice and right."

The journey was long and arduous, it was finally given to us by the Americans a year after the conclusion of World War II. It was President Harry Truman's proclamation on July 4, 1946, with the newly-installed President Manuel Acuna Roxas (Osmeña lost in the presidential election on April 23, 1946 he allowed to happen instead of declaring Martial Law and nullifying the call for election by the two senators, Roxas and Quirino, who were members of the Nacionalista Party which he founded). Roxas having lost in the convention, created his Liberal Wing of the Nacionalista, which became a party after having won the election as president with his co-conspirator Senator Elpidio Quirino as vice president.

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