THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure declaring January 23 as the First Philippine Republic Day.
With a vote of 256-1, House Bill 477 was passed making every 23rd day of January a special working holiday nationwide.
The approval was done prior to the congressional adjournment.
The committee on revision of laws chaired by Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas endorsed for plenary approval HB 477 authored by Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado.
Philippine history said that the declaration of the First Philippine Republic was made on January 23, 1899 at the Barasoain Church in the City of Malolos, Bulacan.
The bill is a refiled proposal that was approved on third and final reading during the 16th Congress.
“The significance of Jan. 23, 1899 is that the First Philippine Republic came into being as the sovereign choice of the people. It was a conscious choice to reject a dictatorial and revolutionary government and establish for all the future Filipino generations the groundwork for democracy,” Sy-Alvarado said.
As the First Republic in Asia, Sy-Alvarado said Filipinos are proud of their strong democratic and republican ideals as a nation. He said it was on June 12, 1898 when General Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines free from the yoke of foreign subjugation.
“The upheaval of nationalistic fervor leading to our independence was followed with cool and calm which was thought to make the gains for Philippine democracy and republicanism more lasting and permanent through the enactment of the first organic law for the Philippine Republic,” he added.
The lawmaker said the beliefs and aspirations of Filipinos as a nation, united in pursuit for life, liberty and enjoyment of the benefits of their democracy, is encapsulated by the nation’s rich and noble history.
“I hope that we can give due recognition with this great feat and achievement of our forefathers in commemorating January 23 as a national holiday,” he added.
The National Historical Commission, in coordination with the Department of Education, shall plan and implement activities for “The First Philippine Republic Day” and ensure that the significance of the historical event will continue to inspire and instill pride among Filipinos in the rich and noble history of the nation.