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DeclarationS of Independence

On 4 July 1946, Harry S. Truman, president of the United States of America, proclaimed that his country
withdraws and surrenders all rights of possession, supervision, jurisdiction, control, or sovereignty now existing and exercised by the United States of America in and over the territory and people of the Philippines...
And so, until the enactment of Republic Act No. 4166 in 1964, Filipinos celebrated Independence Day on July 4.

But if you look at the Philippine Declaration of Independence on 12 June 1898, it states that
under the protection of... the United States of America, we do hereby proclaim and declare solemnly in the name by authority of the people of these Philippine Islands,

That they are and have the right to be free and independent; that they have ceased to have allegiance to the Crown of Spain...
If the declaration was made "under the protection" of another country, does that count as true independence? But nope, this post isn't going to be about when Filipinos should celebrate Independence Day. This is going to be about the absence of important Filipino documents online.

It has been said that a passage in the Philippine declaration is reminiscent of another declaration of independence. Well, both are available online. But why is it that the American Declaration of Independence is available on the website of the National Archives of the United States, but only a bad translation (or badly typed version?) of the Philippine Declaration of Independence may be consulted at a school website? True, this translation is also available—errors intact—on Wikipedia, but that only makes the situation worse!

If the 1987 Constitution is available in its entirety—not to mention downloadable versions of older constitutions—on the official website of the Republic of the Philippines, why can't there be an official page for an important piece of paper like the declaration of independence? Could it be that it's not really that important? Or no one really cares?

Check out the modernization project of the Records Management and Archives Office, and articles from the National Historical Institute on last year's (!) Independence Day celebration to see just how much still needs to be done.

And no, this is not about how good Americans are and how bad Filipinos can be. This, I believe, is a simple case of neglect. My next post will feature a translation of the declaration taken from the Philippine Insurgent Records. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to find the Spanish original.

Category: The Philippines

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