Philippine Independence Day

The many dates of Philippine independence

Jodesz Gavilan
The many dates of Philippine independence
The Philippines declared independence numerous times for many reasons

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos commemorate the Declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12 every year. 

Flags are raised and wreaths are laid in monuments around the country in celebration of the freedom we enjoy now. As a nation frequently colonized in the past, independence is significant for us. 

But did you know that independence was declared several times in the Philippines? Here are the dates when the Pearl of the Orient was “declared” independent. 

April 12, 1895

Andres Bonifacio first declared Philippine Independence inside the Pamitinan cave in Montalban (now Rodriguez), Rizal by writing on its wall “Long Live Philippine Independence!” together with other Katipunan members. This act is now referred to as the “Cry of Pamitinan.”

August 1896

Members of the Katipunan, led by Andres Bonifacio, tore their community tax certificates (cedulas personales) in protest of Spanish conquest. This is well known as the “Cry of Pugadlawin.” The exact date of the event is still being debated but the National Historical Institute has pegged it at August 23

June 12, 1898

President Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the independence of the Philippines in Cavite el Viejo (now Kawit) along with the waiving of the National Flag and the National March. 

  • The Acta de la Proclamacion de Independencia del Pueblo Filipino or Act of the Declaration of Independence in English was written and read by War Consellor Ambrosio Bautista and was signed by 98 people. A certain Mr. L.M Johnson, an American soldier, also signed the declaration. 
  • The Declaration of Independence was formally ratified by 190 municipal leaders from different towns in 16 provinces (Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Bataan, Infanta, Morong, Tayabas, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, La Union, and Zambales) during an assembly in Bacoor, Cavite on August 1, 1898.
  • The Malolos Constitution, the first ever Philippine constitution, paved the way for the creation of a new government supposedly free from Spanish rule. National Assembly President Pedro Paterno opened the first session of the Malolos Congress on September 17, 1898.
October 14, 1943

Japan granted the Philippines independence by setting up a new government headed by Jose P. Laurel. A lot of historians refer to the country’s 2nd Republic as “Puppet State” of the Japanese government because of the alleged prevailing control then.

July 4, 1946

The United States of America officially recognized the independence of the Philippine Republic on July 4, 1946 after a long period of negotiations. 

  • In 1916, the Jones Law was enacted. It affirmed the eventual recognition of the independence of the Philippines.
  • In 1933, the Tydings-McDuffie Act was declared which paved way for the 10-year transitional period as preparation for the independence of the country.
Why June 12?

The Philippine Independence Day we all know now was duly recognized through Proclamation No. 28, s. 1962 by then President Diosdado Macapagal on May 12, 1962. From the 4th of July, it was moved to the 12th of June, citing Aguinaldo’s establishment of the Philippine Republic from Spain “marked our people’s declaration and exercise of their right to self-determination, liberty and independence.”

Congress then formally designated June 12 as the date of Philippine Independence by passing Republic Act No. 4166 in 1964. – 


History of the Filipino People by Teodoro A. Agoncillo
The Philippines: A Past Revisited by Renato Constantino
National Historial Commission of the Philippines
Malolos: The Crisis of the Republic by Teodoro A. Agoncillo
June 12, 1898 and Other Related Documents
The Philippines: Colonialism, Collaboration, and Resistance by William J. Pomeroy
The Laws of the First Republic (the laws of Malolos) 1898-1899 compiled by Sulpicio Guevara
Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines 

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.