CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan – Due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the provincial government of Bulacan celebrated the 122nd anniversary of the First Philippine Republic with simple rites held at the historic Barasoain Church on Saturday, January 23.
The Philippine Republic was the first constitutional republic in Asia, and was the first to frame a comprehensive constitution that was duly approved by a partially elected congress.
The Republic was inaugurated on January 23, 1899 at the Barasoain Church in ceremonies marked by the reading of the whole constitution, by Secretary Pablo Ocampo, the proclamation of the Republic of the Philippines by Congress President Pedro Paterno, followed by the proclamation of General Emilio Aguinaldo as the elected President of the new Republic.
In this year’s commemoration, only a limited number of people was invited to join the festivities unlike last year wherein thousands of Bulakenyos gathered at the Barasoain Church in ceremonies graced by Senator Ronald Dela Rosa.
Governor Daniel R. Fernando said that when the first COVID-19 was confirmed on March 19, 2020, in the City of San Jose Del Monte in the province, not only Bulakenyos were greatly affected but the whole Philippines, as well.
“Halos lahat ay nagbago kasama ang ganitong makasaysayang mga pagdiriwang, naapektuhan ang edukasyon, nabago ang sistema, madaming negosyante ang nalugi at nagsara,” (Almost everything has changed, including this historical event, education has been affected, the system has been changed, many businesses suffered financial losses and were closed),” he said.
Vice Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that although it was short-lived, the first Philippine Republic catapulted the Filipino nation onto the world’s consciousness by carving not only a place among the family of nations, but also a distinct niche as the First Republic in Asia.
It also showed that Filipinos were capable of self-rule and deserved their longed-for freedom after more than 300 years of colonial bondage-bondage that was shaken time and again by sporadic revolts, whose disparateness precluded ultimate victory.
On January 18, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, by the authority of President Duterte, declared January 23 this year as a special (non-working) day in the province of Bulacan, and was given full authority to celebrate and participate in the commemoration of the First Philippine Republic with appropriate ceremonies subject to community quarantine, social distancing, and other public health measures.