The Philippines celebrates its 116th independence day to commemorate its independence from colonial Spain with the theme “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago” (Following the Footsteps of Great Filipinos, Towards Widespread and Lasting Change).

Background and History

The annual June 12 observance of Philippine’s Independence Day came into effect after past President Diosdado Macapagal signed the Republic Act No. 4166 regarding this matter on August 4, 1964. This Act legalized the holiday, which is based on the Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898 by General Emilio Aguinaldo and Filipino revolutionary forces from the Spanish colonization. The Philippine flag was raised and its national anthem was played for the first time in 1898. However, liberty was short-lived because Spain and the United States did not recognize the declaration.

The 1898 Treaty of Paris ended the war between Spain and the United States. Spain surrendered the entire archipelago comprising the Philippines to the United States. The Philippines started a revolt against the United States in 1899 and achieved national sovereignty on July 4, 1946, through the Treaty of Manila. Independence Day was officially observed on July 4 until the Republic Act No. 4166, which set out to move the holiday to June 12, was approved on August 4, 1964.

The declaration of Philippine Independence Day marked the Filipinos’ exercise of their right to self-determination, liberty, and independence. It was a legitimate assertion by the Filipino nation of its natural and inalienable claim to freedom and independence, which is an inherent right of every people, not dependent upon the will and discretion of another (, 2012).

2014 Celebrations

To commemorate this momentous occasion, several government agencies will hold special celebrations in different parts of the country. These events are open to the public.

The opening ceremony is scheduled on June 11, 8 a.m. at Burnham Green in Baguio and Rizal Park. The traditional parade of floats will commence after the opening ceremony.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) along with other government agencies will participate in an exhibit dubbed as “Mga Pampamahalaang Programa at Serbisyo” and a Job Fair on June 11-12.

DSWD will showcase various products of the beneficiaries of its Sustainable Livelihood Program in National Capital Region.

At the Job Fair, DSWD offers 90 slots for the position of Deputy Area Coordinator to be assigned in Field Office VIII in Tacloban City.

Other activities for the Philippine Independence Day include Musikalayaan Concert, Kalayaan Book Sale, Medical and Dental Mission, Drum and Bugle Exhibition, Static Display, and Harana sa Rizal Park, among others.

For the public to attend the events in Luneta, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is offering free MRT/LRT rides on June 12, between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m