SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House committee on appropriations approved Wednesday the funding for the commemoration of the “Philippine American War Memorial Day or “Araw ng Paggunita sa Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano” every February 4.
The committee, chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City), approved the funding provision as contained in Section 4 of the unnumbered bill. The funding shall be drawn from the appropriations of the agencies concerned.
The unnumbered bill substituting House Bill 2092 authored by ACT Teachers Party-list Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro and Rep. Mohamad Khalid (1st District, Lanao del Norte) also declares February 4 of every year as a special working holiday to remember the men and women who fought and died in defense of the Filipino nation during the said war.
The committee on basic education and culture chaired by Rep. Ramon Durano VI (5th District, Cebu) endorsed the bill to the appropriations committee for funding of the implementation of the proposed Act. Thereafter, the bill will be endorsed to the plenary for second reading.
The bill mandates the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to ensure that appropriate activities are held in schools at all levels to commemorate the historic event.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines shall be responsible for providing the DepEd, CHED, and the general public with the necessary information to ensure a meaningful commemoration.
Tinio said the country commemorated the 118th anniversary of the Philippine-American war last February 4, 2017.
“Sadly, February 4 passes yearly with hardly an official acknowledgement of the Philippine-American War and its tremendous significance in our history. Any memory of the event, heroes, and martyrs of the war has nearly been obliterated from the collective consciousness of our people,” said Tinio.
Tinio said the struggle waged by Filipinos to defend their freedom newly-won from Spain and uphold the First Republic of the Philippines against the occupation forces of the United States of America has been described as “one of the most heroic struggles ever waged in modern times; a struggle waged against implacable odds and at terrible cost.”
There are no definitive figures on the number of Filipinos who died as a result of the war, he said. One conservative estimate puts the number of Filipino soldiers killed at 34,000 together with the 200,000 civilian deaths directly or indirectly (mainly through disease) brought about by the war.
“Their sacrifice had been indispensable in the forging of the modern Filipino nation, and every Filipino citizen owes them a debt of gratitude,” said Tinio. / RBB