Photo: Filipino Struggles Throughout History 1964 / Oil on canvas / 270 x 487 cm / Artist: Carlos V. Francisco aka Botong Francisco / Old Senate Session Hall, National Museum of Fine Arts, Manila

The Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) wishes to extend its full cooperation in the celebration and commemoration of the Republic of the Philippines of its 125th Independence Day this June 12, 2023. May we all embrace the spirit of nationhood so that we can all work together towards the path to economic and social development.


Philippine history is generally categorized into three distinct periods: (1) pre-colonial, (2) colonial, and (3) post-colonial or contemporary. During the pre-colonial period, sporadic settlements called Barangays can be found in coastal and mountainous regions. The southern Philippines during these times are run by Islamic settlements connected with the Sultanate of Sulu and Borneo. Maritime trade routes were also set up along coastal settlements. Archaeological records show that indigenous groups have traded goods with adjacent territories from modern-day China, Indonesia, Vietnam, to as far as India.

Photo: Maritime trade route map of the Philippines circa 1600. Source: Cambridge University Press

In 1565, the colonial government of Spain was set up with Gov. Gen. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi was appointed by the King of Spain as the first governor general. The Philippines was occupied by the Spanish colonial government for 333 years until 1898, when the American colonial government took control of the reigns. Key influences in politics and culture were contributed by Spain - the most integral of which is that of religion, as the Philippines is still one of the countries in the world where the dominant religion is Christianity (Roman Catholicism).

Photo: Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite where the Philippine flag was first hoisted in 1898

The Philippines remained under the governance of America until 1942 - when it fell under the imperial Japanese army during World War II. At the end of World War II in 1945, the United States retained its influence on the country until today. The occupation of the United States of America has introduced key political, economic, and socio-cultural influences that the Philippines retained until today. The Americans introduced the concepts of democracy, established secularized educational institutions, and brought capital investments that have allowed economic development in the country during the period until today.

Current Government Type

Photo: The Malacanang Palace (residing office of the Philippine president)

The Republic of the Philippines is considered as a unitary presidential republic. The government operates under a democratic system where officials are elected during a preselected term. The executive branch is headed by the president; the legislative branch is divided into the upper (Senate) and lower (House of Representatives) houses; and the judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court chief justice.

The current president of the Philippines is Pres. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., son of the former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. He was elected in the last 2022 presidential elections and sat in office last July 1, 2022. He will be serving his presidential term until 2028.

2023 Celebrations

Ceremonial raising of the Philippine flag in Rizal Park every June 12th of the year, Photo by Eagle News

The Philippines will be celebrating its 125th Independence Day this June 12, 2023. This day serves as a commemoration of the republic from its independence from Spain in 1898. This was previously celebrated every July 4 until former President Diosdado Macapagal moved it to June 12 through Republic Act No. 4166.

Every year, the lead agency organizer, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) commemorates this event by putting up Philippine flags all over selected houses and establishments in the country. All government agencies and establishments are closed in accordance with the provisions of the law.

The celebration usually begins with a holiday toast ceremony in Manila (usually done in Malacanang Palace) led by the president. Afterwards, the ceremonial raising of the Philippine flag and singing of the Philippine national anthem Lupang Hinirang are done in Rizal Park Manila where a civil-military parade ensues facilitated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. A 21-gun salute is then performed by the selected battery of the Philippine Army Artillery Regiment. The President of the Republic and other chief guests deliver a special speech/address if the program permits.

On June 5, 2023, a commemorative coin set in celebration of the 125th Philippine Independence Day and Nationhood was launched at the Ceremonial Hall of the Malacanang Palace led by Pres. Marcos and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla lead the launch of the commemorative coin set for the 125th Anniversary of Philippines Independence and Nationhood at the Ceremonial Hall of MalacaƱan Palace on Monday (June 5, 2023), Photo from Philippine News Agency


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