By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Senate has approved on second reading Wednesday, a measure that would declare January 23 of every year a special working holiday to celebrate the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic.
Senator Joel Villanueva, author of the Senate Bill No. 1525, said it is important to commemorate the inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines “to remind us of the beginning of Filipino Democracy and the fight towards our freedom.”
“The establishment of the First Philippine Republic proved that Filipinos were capable of self-rule and deserved their longed-for-freedom after more than 300 years of bondage from Spanish rule,” Villanueva said.
He added that the First Philippine Republic also placed the country in the world’s consciousness for being the first constitutional republic in Asia.
While the First Philippine Republic was short-lived — lasting only from January 23, 1899 to March 23, 1901, — Villanueva said its creation “left a mark on our history” as it “served as a foundation and guide of the country’s democracy.”
The First Philippine Republic under President Emilio Aguinaldo was inaugurated at the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, making it known also as the “Malolos Republic.”
In October 2016, the House of Representatives had approved on third and final reading a counterpart bill declaring January 23 as “First Philippine Republic Day.”
Under a special working holiday, no premium rate is implemented for employees.