Solon wants February 4 declared as Philippine-American War Memorial Day

A lawmaker has filed a bill declaring February 4 of every year as
Philippine-American War Memorial Day in remembrance of the men and
women who fought and died in defense of the Filipino nation during the
Philippine-American War.

Rep. Antonio Tinio (Party-list, Act Teachers), author of House Bill
5782, said the struggle waged by Filipinos to defend the freedom
newly-won from Spain and uphold the First Republic of the Philippines
against the occupation forces of the United States of America has been
described as one of the most heroic struggles ever waged in modern

Tinio said the war demonstrated Filipino solidarity and the Filipinos’
resolute refusal to submit to imperial aggression.

According to Tinio, the armed forces of the First Republic, led by
President Emilio Aguinaldo, waged a fierce and determined war of
resistance as the invading forces launched major campaigns, notably in
the provinces of Central Luzon, the Ilocos and Cordillera, Panay and
the Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, and Mindanao.

Even after the capture of Aguinaldo and the formal end of the war in
April 1901, popular resistance to the imposition of U.S. colonial rule
continued, Tinio said.

Tinio said there are no definitive figures on the number of Filipinos
who died as a result of the war but conservative estimate places the
number of Filipino soldiers killed at 34,000, together with at least
200,000 civilian deaths directly or indirectly brought about by the

“By comparing population figures before and after the war, others have
claimed that over one million Filipinos lost their lives as a result
of the conflict.  Nevertheless, the Philippine-American War stands as
one of the bloodiest chapters in our nation’s history,” Tinio said.

The Philippine-American War started with a first shot of Pvt. William
W. Grayson of the First Nebraska Volunteers and killed Corporal
Anastacio Felix of the 4th Company, Morong Battalion under Captain
Serapio Narvaez on February 4, 1899 at corner of Sciego and Silencio
streets, Santa Mesa District, Manila.

“Sadly, February 4 passes yearly with hardly an official
acknowledgment of the Philippine-American War and its tremendous
significance to our history,” Tinio said.  “Any memory of the events,
heroes, and martyrs of the war has nearly been obliterated from the
collective consciousness of our people.”

Under the measure, February 4 shall be declared as a special working
holiday to honor the memory of the men and women who fought in the
face of overwhelming odds and gave up their lives to defend the ideals
of a truly independent and sovereign Philippines.

“Their sacrifices had been indispensable in the forging of the modern
Filipino nation, and every Filipino citizen owes them a debt of
gratitude,” Tinio said.

The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education
shall ensure that appropriate activities are held in schools at all
levels to commemorate “Philippine-American War Memorial Day” or “Araw
ng Paggunita sa Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano.”

“National commemoration of the Philippine-American War through the
remembrance of the patriotism and self-sacrifice of its heroes and
martyrs will reconcile us with our past, clarify our present, and
point the way to our future,” Tinio said.


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