Today, June 12th, is the Araw ng Kalayaan or Independence Day, celebrated throughout the Philippines--our 114th independence from Spain's colonial rule. On this day, in 1898, General Aguinaldo proclaimed the freedom of the Filipino people. The culmination of the hundreds of armed uprising launched by the Filipinos from 1571 to 1896 to recover their right to be free.
From Lapu-Lapu of Mactan to modern-day heroes, our history is replete with names of men and women who readily gave up their lives for the sake of freedom.
We celebrate Independence Day to
remind our people of the blood and sacrifices that nourished our
But even after we have reclaimed our freedom from Spain, time and again our freedom has been threatened.
"I will never bow my head before any foreign invader, " Rajah Kalipulaku of Mactan declared in 1521.
Gabriela Silang, a 17th century revolutionary led 2,000 Filipinos in battle against the Spanish Army. She was a heroine, the first Filipina to lead an uprising against a foreign power.
"Freedom or Death!" cried Andres Bonifacio when he launched the Philippine Revolution in 1896.
"The natives of the Philippines," wrote the friar-chronicler Pedro Murillo Velarde, "were fierce defenders of freedom and enemies to subjection."
Let us protect this precious right.