September 15 does not fail us in reminding how proudly it is to be a Bulakenyo!
The fact, that Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan became the cradle of the first Philippine Republic, 119 years ago, must be something to chin up for. Our province took a special role in our glorious past—not just the setting of the republic’s birthing, but as the silent witness to the Filipinos’ capacity to self-rule and solidarity to longed-for freedom after more than 300 years of Spanish colonialization.
Before we become oblivious about this indelible mark in history, let us take a moment to travel together the road to the first Philippine Republic! Let us reminisce how we, Filipinos, had started to be universally acknowledged as the First Republican Constitution in Asia. It is really worthy of note that it happened in Bulacan.
September 15, 1898 marks the opening of the Revolutionary Congress (today known as the Malolos Congress) in Barasoain Church. It was participated with ninety-five (95) delegates, mainly intellectuals, from various parts of the country gathered to give birth to the government of the Philippines.
Pedro A. Paterno was elected President of Congress.“The man whom the revolutionists had so satirically admonished for his leaning towards Spanish sovereignty less than 4 months before, was chosen to guide the political destinies of this budding democracy and preside over their Republican legislative body.” Benito Legarda and Pablo Ocampo were chosen to be Vice-President and Secretary respectively.
After the declaration of independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 at Kawit, Cavite, the election of the Malolos Congress was held between June 23 and September 10 and later transformed the dictatorial government to a revolutionary government on June 23.
On September 29, the “June 12 Declaration of independence” was ratified. The Congress then drafted a Constitution, a decision which was opposed by ApolinarioMabini, the Prime Minister of the revolutionary government or President of the Council of Government. The resulting Malolos Constitution was ratified on November 29, 1898, signed into law on December 23, approved on January 20, 1899, sanctioned by President Emilio Aguinaldo on January 21, and promulgated on January 22, 1899.
Today, September 15, 2017, let us pay tribute to the emerging of the Republic of the Philippines as a nation to world’s consciousness as the first republic in Asia through Malolos Congress in Bulacan. Let us be proud we are Bulakenyos!
By Julio L. Fabian