Every year, on July 4, we commemorate the anniversary of the formal recognition of Philippine independence by the United States of America.
What is Republic Day?
On July 4, 1946, the United States formally recognized the independence of the Republic of the Philippines. This was the culmination of the process that began in 1916, when the Jones Law pledged the eventual recognition of Philippine independence, and the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1933, which provided for a ten-year transitional period to prepare for independence. The independence of the Philippines was marked by Manuel Roxas retaking his oath as President of the Philippines, eliminating the pledge of allegiance to the United States required prior to independence. [Learn more about Republic Day on Official Gazette.]
Independence Day Ceremonies, 1946
From Blue Book of the First Year of the Republic:
The Philippine flag, its red bar below the blue in token of beneficent and dearly bought peace at last, began to wave in the sweeping wind. The wind came in swift, low gusts… From the west came a rain-laden gale. And the long, slender crystal threads came down from the gray, white masses in the sky, as if to unravel the blending, shifting, immaterial fleece. And the rain blended with our tears—tears of joy, of gratitude, and of pride in supreme accomplishment. Above us flew for the first time and over this embattled land, alone, happy, and unperturbed amidst sweeping gales and whipping rain—the flag of the Philippines.
On July 4, 1946, the United States of America formally recognized the independence of the Philippines. In ceremonies held at the Independence Grandstand (a temporary structure built in front of the Rizal Monument), the flag of America was lowered and the Philippine flag was raised to fly alone over the islands. The independence of the Philippines—and the inauguration of its Third Republic—was marked by Manuel Roxas re-taking his oath, eliminating the pledge of allegiance to the United States of America which was required prior to independence, this time as the first President of the Republic of the Philippines. Today we commemorate the 67th anniversary of that fateful day called in years past as Filipino-American Day renamed, more aptly, to Republic Day.
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The Sewing of the American Flag, 1946
From “The Last American Flag on Philippine Soil,” by Pura Villanueva Kalaw:
The flag was going to be the last to fly over the Philippines. It was to descend after having flown over this country for almost half a century. Vice-President Elpidio Quirino had told me a few days before that the three First Ladies who had presided over Malacañan Palace, Mrs. Manuel L. Quezon, Mrs. Sergio Osmeña, and Mrs. Manuel Roxas, assisted by several representative Filipino women, were to give the finishing sewing touches to the silver stars on the last American flag. After the ceremonies of the inauguration of the Philippine Republic, this historical flag was to be sent to the United States as souvenir from the loving Filipino people.
The stars on the flag of the United States of America were sewn by different groups of ladies representing all the provinces of the Philippines. The collective was supervised by the Mrs. Manuel Roxas, Mrs. Manuel L. Quezon, and Mrs. Sergio Osmeña. Pura Villanueva Kalaw, who was among those invited to sew the stars, recounts her experience in her essay, “The Last American Flag in Philippine Soil.” The Philippine flag used in this ceremony was donated by the government of the United States. The size of the flag was 10 by 19 feet.
The independence of the Philippines—and the inauguration of our Third Republic—was marked by Manuel Roxas re-taking his oath, eliminating the pledge of allegiance to the United States of America which was required prior to independence, this time as the first President of the Republic of the Philippines. This was Roxas’ second inauguration, having been inaugurated as the third and last President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines on May 28, 1946. Video courtesy of the President Manuel Roxas Foundation.
Post-war rehabilitation of the Philippines, which entailed close cooperation with the United States of America, and the active involvement of the Filipino public. Video courtesy of the President Manuel Roxas Foundation.