Gabriela wants February 4 declared as day for Philippine-American War heroes

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Gabriela Representative Luzviminda Ilagan. Photo by Arkibong Bayan
Gabriela Representative Luzviminda Ilagan. Photo by Arkibong Bayan

MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers from the Gabriela Party-list want to commemorate the bravery of Filipinos who fought and died in the Philippine-American War every February 4.

Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana De Jesus filed House Bill No. 1387 to remember, honor and pay respects to the forgotten Filipino heroes who fought and died during the war that stretched from February 4 1899 up to 1913.

The proposed measure hopes to rectify the historic injustice perpetrated against the heroic Filipino forebears, Ilagan and De Jesus said.

Ilagan and De Jesus lamented the fact that the Filipino heroes during the Philippine American War were not given acknowledgement in the same degree as those who joined the struggle against Spain and the Japanese Imperial forces.

The government even neglected its obligation to honor the heroes and martyrs of the Philippine-American war, the lawmakers said.

Filipino resistance against the American colonizers was so popular and widespread that the United States had to deploy over 100,000 of its troops to fight the war.

The Filipino death toll was estimated to reach over one million making it the bloodiest war in the country’s history, surpassing even the Filipino death toll during World War II.

What makes it even sadder, the lawmakers said, is that “the vast majority of Filipinos today – young and old, know little about the Philippine-American War because the American colonizers made effective use of the educational system to obliterate all knowledge of the said war.”

The proposed bill now seeks the declaration of February 4 every year as “Araw ng Pagdadakila sa mga Pilipinong Nagbuwis ng Buhay noong Digmaang Pilipino Amerikano.”

It compels government agencies and instrumentalities, government owned and controlled corporations, local government units, and employers in the private sector to encourage and allow their employees to engage and participate in any activity or ceremony to commemorate the bravery of the Filipinos during said war. (Jennifer Arteche-Valenton)

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