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Category Archives: history

August 26 2013 Philippine holiday –

Araw ng mga Bayani 2013

Filipinos nationwide will have their third holiday for the month of August this August 26, Monday. The nation will mark its annual Araw ng mga Bayani or National Heroes’ Day on the said day. It is listed as a national holiday based on president Benigno Aquino III’s Proclamation 459, which he signed September of last year. The National Heroes’ Day is celebrated every last Monday of August. The said holiday creates another three-day weekend for the month of August (as noted in previous posts, Eid’l Fitr will be on August 9).

We commemorate a pivotal point in Philippine history during the last week of August. In his definitive book Revolt of the Masses, preeminent historian Teodoro Agoncillo pointed out that national hero Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan officially began the war of independence against the Spanish regime in late August, 1896*.

A photo engraving of Andres Bonifacio, founder...

Andres Bonifacio, father of the Philippine revolution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The momentous Cry of Pugadlawin (or “Sigaw sa Pugad Lawin“), an anticlimactic moment that marked the beginning of the revolution, happened during then. Most Filipinos associate the event with the Katipuneros’ tearing of their respective cedulas, although the exact date and place of the “cry” remains disputed to this day (Agoncillo puts it at August 23).

*Agoncillo, Teodoro A. The Revolt of the Masses (1956 ed.). University of the Philippines Press. Quezon City. pp. 149-153

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August 21 2013 Ninoy Aquino day holiday

The Philippines will mark the 30th anniversary of the assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. this coming August 21, Wednesday. This is stipulated in Republic Act (RA) 9256, which then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed in 2004. Read the full text of RA 9256 through this link.

In accordance with RA 9256, President Benigno Aquino III has listed August 21 2013 as one of the legal holidays for 2013 through Proclamation 459 (click here to read). This particular holiday comes just twelve days after the celebration of the Eid’l Fitr national holiday on August 9 and merely five days before the National Heroes Day on August 26.

Aquino, a leading voice of dissent during the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos, was shot upon his arrival from the United States three decades ago after staying there for three years due to a heart ailment. He is the wife of former President Corazon Aquino. President Aquino is their only son.

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August 19 2013 – Quezon City Day holiday

The Philippines will be the marking this August 19 the 135th birth anniversary of Manuel L. Quezon, the country’s second president. The day, which falls on a Monday, is a special non-working holiday in Quezon City, as well as in Aurora and Quezon provinces.

This is in accordance to Republic Act (RA) 6741, which was signed by then-President Corazon Aquino back in 1988. August 19 is a special working holiday elsewhere in the country. Read the full text of RA 6741 here.

Provincial seal of Quezon, Philippines.

Provincial seal of Quezon, Philippines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quezon City and Quezon province were both named after the man who led the country from 1935 to 1944, while Aurora province in Region III was named after his wife. Quezon died of tuberculosis in the United States in 1944 while his wife was killed in an ambush in 1949.

Residents or the aforementioned areas will have two more holidays for the month – Ninoy Aquino Day on August 21 and National Heroes’ Day on August 26.

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August 6 2013 Cebu Charter Day holiday

The province of Cebu will be having its 444th charter day anniversary this coming August 6, Tuesday. The day is a special non-working holiday in the entire province, including  Cebu City, Danao, Lapulapu, Mandaue, and Toledo, all of which are considered as highly-urbanized cities.

This is in accordance to Republic Act (RA) 8952, which was enacted during the time of then-President Joseph Estrada. Read the full text of RA 8952 in this link. As we noted in a blog post last year, August 6 became the charter day of Cebu because of a resolution passed by its provincial board back in 1993.

English: Map of Cebu showing the location of M...

Map of Cebu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The resolution states that Spain’s King Philip II, to whom the Philippines is named after, appointed Miguel Lopez de Legaspi as the governor of Cebu on August 6, 1569. This, the declaration noted, “mark(ed) the foundation, although loosely, of a province of Cebu.” Happy charter day to all Cebuanos!

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UP Cesar Virata School of Business?

The recent renaming of University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman’s College of Business Administration (CBA) into the Cesar Virata School of Business has received flak from various quarters.

The move was approved by the UP Board of Regents (BOR) during their 1287th meeting last April 12. “Virata has served UP, the Philippine government and the country for many years and with clear distinction,” it was noted during the deliberations.

In officially announcing the “rebranding” of CBA, the college administration stressed that “Virata’s career can be an inspiration to aspiring managers.” “It is fitting that the business school of the University of the Philippines should carry his name,” the college said in a statement, citing Virata’s extensive experience in the academe, private sector, and in government service.

Virata most notably served for 16 years as the finance minister during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos. He also became a figurehead head prime minister during the regime’s final years. Given this background, it is not surprising that known anti-Marcos figures like former Senator Rene Saguisag and martial law era journalist Rigoberto Tiglao have spoken out against CBA’s renaming.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Saguisag said that the UP administration may be violating a long-standing law in pushing through with the renaming. He is referring to Republic Act (RA) 1059, which bars the naming of cities, municipalities, parks, plazas, public schools, public buildings, and the like after living individuals. RA 1059 came into effect in 1954, during the time of President Ramon Magsaysay.

cesar virata school of business

The UP College of Business Administration has been renamed as the Cesar Virata School of Business (Credits: University of Pennsylvania Website)

In the above cited Inquirer article, Prospero de Vera, UP Vice President for Public Affairs, argued that no law was violated since “it was the educational component that was named after Virata, not a building or a facility.” What exactly does De Vera mean?

The claim of CBA Dean Ben Paul Gutierrez that it is common practice in the United States to rename their schools of specialization after famous personalities was thoroughly debunked by Tiglao, a former spokesperson during the Arroyo administration, in a column for Manila Times last June 6. In his piece, Tiglao accused Gutierrez of lying and misrepresenting facts to support his proposal.

According to a report in CBA’s official college newspaper, Gutierrez first brought up his plan last August. After that, he pulled all the stops to make sure that his proposal is passed, including the distribution of signature sheets for students to support the move.

What are Gutierrez’ motivations for doing this? Did Virata or his family bring up the idea? Is it true that there are no financial considerations that led to this decision? Were consultations with all the stakeholders even held?

Virata’s credentials in the finance industry is beyond doubt, and his inclusion in the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School’s most influential alumnus list can attest to this.

However, the fact that he is still alive gives the renaming of an institution in his honor a bad taste. Virata also remains closely associated with the Marcos dictatorship. This Facebook note by University of Asia and the Pacific history instructor Alvin Campomanes explains how exactly Marcos and Virata managed the Philippine economy during their time.

Needless to say, interested parties should challenge the legality of this move before the proper venues to settle the matter once and for all.


True freedom remains elusive for Filipinos

It has been 115 years since the Philippines won the struggle for independence against Spain. We take pride in being Asia’s first independent republic. Fast forward to 2013. According to Freedom House, a United States-based civil liberties and political rights advocacy group, the Philippines is only a “partly free” country.

Although the Philippines have been technically free from foreign colonization since the Americans left in 1946, the freedom that we Filipinos enjoy at present continues to face numerous problems. The continued proliferation of political dynasties nationwide and the emergence of the dangerous Republic Act (RA) 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 are examples of these challenges.

The Internet has provided Filipinos with a new means by which they can express their views and opinions on the hottest issues of the day. Like other technologies including mobile phones, the Internet has been abused by some people in many ways – from constant spamming to making unruly comments online.

philippine independence day 2013

The Philippines marked its 115th Independence Day today

Nevertheless, having a law like RA 10175 will not likely make the situation better. Rather, it threatens the freedom of speech in the country. Once this law takes effect, people may now think twice about making critical comments about their leaders out of fear of being charged with online libel. Needless to say, this particular law will curtail Filipinos’ freedom to actively take part in issues concerning them.

Another manifestation of the flawed nature of the independence Filipinos have is the so-called political dynasties. According to recently-released political surveys, it appears that the 2013 senatorial elections will be dominated by individuals that are scions of established political families. The situation is much worse at the local level, where families treat government positions like a game of musical chairs.

It is not uncommon for the wife of a sitting governor to seek her husband’s post once his term ends, all the while “grooming” their children to take their place in the future. All Filipinos, as long as they meet the basic requirements set, can seek public office, but even the ones with the cleanest intentions in mind will have a hard time beating candidates from established families.

These realities underscore the fact that although the Philippines enjoys independence and is in fact a freer country compared to other countries elsewhere in the world, our freedom is rather imperfect. Filipinos have to be eternally vigilant for any attempts of certain parties to encroach on their liberties. This way, the meaning of independence can have continued relevance for the new generation.

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Philippine Independence Day – June 12 2013

The Philippines will mark its 115th independence day this June 12, Wednesday. The day is a national holiday as stipulated in President Benigno Aquino III’s Proclamation 459, which he signed last September. This is one of the 15 national holidays for 2013. Since the holiday falls midweek, it is not likely to be moved to other days like June 10 or June 14.

 Employees who will work on this day, whether out of choice or otherwise, should get 200% or double their regular rate for every hour of service rendered. This is according to the Department of Labor and Employment’s Handbook on Workers Statutory Monetary Benefits (2010 edition).

Even those who choose to avail of the rest day should still get 100% of their basic wage as long as “he/she is present or is on leave of absence with pay on the work day immediately preceding the holiday.”

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