Senator Loren Legarda led the Friday’s 125th Malolos Congress anniversary celebration before the monument of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo of the Barasoain Church grounds in City of Malolos, Bulacan. Photo by Anton Luis Catindig

CITY OF MALOLOS—Senator Loren Legarda urged Bulacan officials during Friday’s 125th anniversary of the Malolos Congress to create their respective cultural mapping laws to discover, appreciate and preserve more the rich Philippine history, culture and heritage.

Legarda, guest of honor and speaker in this year’s Malolos Congress anniversary celebration who said her great great grandfather, Ariston Helia, being the grandfather of her mother, who was a pharmacist from Antique was one of the delegates to the Malolos Congress held inside the Barasoain Church on Sept. 15, 1898 addressed Bulacan officials during the event saying cultural mapping laws in each local government units (LGU) would further boost our pride and love for our nation and being Filipinos. 

Cultural mapping is the conduct of actual physical research and interviews to local folks on the still existing heritage, culture and history in each of the villages in one’s city and municipality that includes tangible moveable, tangible immoveable, structures like churches, houses, artifacts, etc. 

The senator said that not only history, culture and heritage would be discovered and preserved in the cultural mapping but even one’s locality’s bio diversity, rituals, hobbies. 

“Vital sa LGU to have a cultural mapping law para malaman natin ang sarili nating yaman. Bilang senate chair on culture and the arts, the Cultural Mapping Bill I authored and was passed into law ay isinusulong natin yan. Sana ang buong province ng Bulacan magkaroon nito. Hindi lang kasaysayan ang ating mape-preserba, kundi pati bio divesity, hobbies, ritual, lalo nating mamahalin ang ating bayan at ang ating pagka-Pilipino. Paigtingin pa natin ang mga programa tungkol sa kasaysayan,” (It is important for the LGUs to have their respective cultural mapping laws to know their own respective rich history and culture. As chair of the senate culture and the arts, I authored the bill on cultural mapping that was passed into law. I hope that the whole of Bulacan province will have its own cultural mapping laws. It is not only history which would be discovered in cultural mapping but even bio diversity, hobbies, rituals. We would be able to love our being Filipinos even more. Let us further enhance the programs about our history), she said. 

Legarda said she also filed a bill for all LGUs to provide an allocation for local studies centers. 

With this year’s theme on the 125th anniversary of the Malolos Congress “Kongreso ng Malolos, Saligan sa Pagsulong ng Nagbabagong Panahon,” the senator hailed the works and participation of our leaders and ancestors because the Malolos Congress served as the foundation of the freedom, equality, education, rights and justice we enjoy today. 

There were about 190 delegates from all over the country who all gathered at the Barasoain Church on September 15, 1898 and crafted the Malolos Constitution, the first law of the land that served as the backbone of the June 12, 1988 declaration of Philippine Independence.

“We will not let what our ancestors have fought for to just be wasted. The freedom we achieved is a responsibility we need to protect and preserve,” she said. 

Senator Loren Legarda was joined by Vice Gov. Alex Castro and Malolos Bishop Dennis Villarojo on the left and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Executive Director Emmanuel Calairo, City of Malolos Mayor Christian Natividad, Barasoain Church Parish Priest Fr. Domingo “Memeng” Salonga and Bulacan Police Director Police Col. Relly Arnedo on the right during the wreath laying ceremony before the monument of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo at the Barasoain Church grounds.  Photo by Anton Luis Catindig

National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Executive Director Emmanuel Calairo who also spoke as guest in the event said the Malolos Congress is very important in our history and freedom because it is what ratified our country’s independence. 

He said such a number of delegates from 70 provinces in the country who attended the Malolos Congress have worked hard together and had proven that the battle cry of our national heroes that our country’s freedom can only be achieved through democratic rule.

“Malolos Congress ratifies our country’s freedom. It provides for our constitution that paved the way to become the First Republic in Asia,” Calairo said. 

According to the NHCP head, the delegates in the Malolos Congress made a choice from among three versions of the constitution t be adopted—the one prepared by Pedro Paterno, Apolinario Mabini and Felipe Calderon. In the end, it was that of Calderon that prevailed, the version that provides for a presidential unicameral and a republican system where there was also the separation of church and state.

Senator Loren Legarda receives a memento from Bulacan officials. Photo by Anton Luis Catindig

“Malolos Congress was very historic because for the first time, there were delegates from all over the country. The constitution that was crafted here became the foundation of the First Philippine Republic on Jan. 23, 1899 which was then hailed and recognized as the First Philippine Republic in Asia,” Calairo added. 

Vice Governor Alexis Castro who spoke on behalf of Gov. Daniel Fernando said Bulacan continues to recognize the value and importance of the glorious history of our nation especially so that major events in the country’s freedom and democracy were fought and achieved in his beloved Bulacan province. 

Castro said the Malolos Congress is the culmination of the annual “Sining Kalinangan ng Bulacan” (Singkaban) Festival where the province’s role in our country’s freedom including its own rich culture and heritage are remembered, highlighted, preserved and promoted for the next generation.

City of Malolos Mayor Christian Natividad said history repeats itself as the Filipino leadership and capabilities continue to be challenged today.