President Marcos leads 125th Philippine Republic milestone anniversary celebration

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CITY OF MALOLOS—President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led  on Tuesday the country’s 125th milestone anniversary celebration of the First Philippine Republic, the First Republic in Asia at the Barasoain Church where the historical event unfolds on Jan. 23, 1899 in this capital city of Bulacan. 

Marcos who arrived on time for the 8:00 a.m. start of the program at Barasoain Church grounds was welcomed by Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando and City of Malolos Mayor Christian Natividad. Joined by the two local officials, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Director Emmanuel Franco Calairo, Marcos also led the flag raising and wreath laying ceremonies before the monument of Philippine Republic President Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo at the church grounds.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the red carpet as he led the 125th milestone anniversary celebration of the First Philippine Republic reliving the same scene during the actual event on Jan. 23, 1899 inside the historic Barasoain Church. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

Following the two ceremonies, Marcos made his way inside the Barasoain Church for the program. 

Adorned with Philippine flags, as a sort of re-enactment of the scene in the actual Philippine Republic inauguration 125 years ago, Marcos delivers a 10-minute speech. 

According to the President, because of the Malolos Congress and the Philippine Republic, a new nation was created that showed the world that the country is ruled by law. 

He said that the Filipino people were fully liberated and although the world was sceptical they can stand on their own, the Philippine Republic erases that doubt.  

“We will continue today what our forefathers who were behind the Philippine Republic and this is what makes our democracy stable, our future secured and our nation strong.  That is the only way we could only honor our forefathers  who established the Philippine Republic,” the President said in his speech. 

“Isinasabuhay natin taun-taon ang kadakilaan ang diwa ng Malolos Congress at ng Philippine Republic. Buhay na buhay sa ating puso ang kanilang ipinakitang kagitingan. Sa ngayon, sa kabila ng patuloy na mga pagsubok sa ating lipunan katulad ng sakit, kalamidad, makakaasa kayong lahat na kasama ninyo ang pamahalaang nasyunal laban sa iba’t ibang pang-aabuso, boses na handang magtanggol para sa lahat at higit sa lahat, may puso, para sa bawat isa. Patuloy nating pag-ibayuhin ang pag-ibig natin sa ating bayan para sa lalo pang mga pagpapala sa ating Bagong Pilipinas,” the President said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his speech inside the Barasoain Church for Tuesday’s 125th milestone anniversary celebration of the First Philippine Republic. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

The First Philippine Republic, established after the adoption of the Malolos Constitution of 1899, was Asia’s First Constitutional Republic that served as an inspiration for other Asiatic republics. The Republic replaced the Revolutionary Government created by President Emilio Aguinaldo 18 and 23 June 1898 decrees after the proclamation of Philippine Independence from the Spanish Empire on 12 June 1898. It lasted from January 1899 until Aguinaldo was captured by American Forces during the Philippine-American War in Palanan, Isabela on 22 March 1901, according to the NHCP. 

The milestone is part of the 125th Anniversary of Philippine Independence and Nationhood 2023-2026 which commemorates the events that led up to the Independence and the development of our nation from 1989 to 1901. President Marcos previously enjoined the nation to participate in the commemoration through Administrative Order No. 8, s. 2023 with the NHCP as the Chair of the National Steering Committee, the NHCP also said. 

Fernando said that the Philippine Republic brings great honor and pride to the Filipino race and its 125th milestone celebration today relives each and every Filipino’s great pride and dignity. 

Philippine flags adorned the Barasoain Church including its altar during the 125th Philippine republic anniversary celebration on Tuesday that was led by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

According to Calairo, the celebration reminds us of the freedom brought by the nationalism and the reforms led by our heroes Dr. Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Andres Bonifacio, the Katipunan and the Philippine Republic led by President Emilio Aguinaldo but which was not recognized by the Americans.

“Tagumpay na naibalik ang dangal ng mga Pilipino, hindi na tayo insurekto, tayo ay mga republikano at kinikilala ng malayang bansa sa buong mundo. Ito ang panahon upang lalong magkaisa,” he said. Calairo enjoins every Filipino to support President Marcos Bagong Pilipinas thrust. 

Romualdez on his part said the Philippine Republic in the Barasoain Church proves that the power reigns in the people including the power to choose their leaders. “Today, we have our freedom of expression, this is good. It is a reason to celebrate. We enjoy the democracy and freedom that was brought to us by the Philippine Republic,” he said. 

Zubiri who traces his ancestry, Pablo Ocampo Sr. , one of the delegates to the Malolos Congress expressed his gratitude to the Philippine Republic being the first democracy in Asia. 

“Sovereignty emanates from the people. Binigyang pundasyon at hugis ng Philippine Republic ang ating kalayaan,” he said. 

The senate president also hailed the delegates to the Malolos Congress who were behind the Malolos Constitution and the Philippine Republic for not using the constitution they crafted for their own personal gain. 

“Hindi sinamantala ang posisyon sa Constitution para sa pansariling kapakanan. They stood as uncompromising for freedom. We should continue this. We remain free from invasion, poverty, foreign aggression. These were what our forefathers did. Ano mang pagbabago sa atin, hindi dapat ang pansariling motibo. Upang balang araw ay mahusgahan tayo na gumawa tayo ng tama,” Zubiri also said. 

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