NHCP launches project to mark 125th anniversary of Philippine independence

THE NATIONAL Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) launched a multi-year project to mark the 125th anniversary of Philippine Independence and Nationhood at Fort San Pedro, Cebu City on Aug. 3, with the unveiling of the commemoration’s official logo.

The ceremony was also streamed on the NHCP’s Facebook page.

Fort San Pedro was captured by Cebuano revolutionaries on Dec. 29, 1898 as part of the liberation of the Philippines from Spain.

After the commemoration’s official logo launch in Cebu City, the rest of the events will commence on June 12, 2023 — the 125th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite.

The 125th anniversary of Philippine Independence and Nationhood will be celebrated until 2026, with the theme “Kalayaan. Kinabukasan. Kasaysayan. (Freedom. Future. History.).”

In his speech in Cebu, NHCP Chairperson and concurrent National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chairperson Rene R. Escalante said that part of the NHCP’s roadmap to 2026 is to “strengthen, widen, and grow” the member-affiliates of the local committee’s historical network (LCHN), a segment of the NHCP responsible for the collection, preservation, and documentation of historical materials around the country, and to focus on projects for the celebration of 125th anniversary of Philippine Independence.

100 SITES
The flagship project of the commemoration is the marking of around 100 sites, ranging from Kawit, Cavite where independence was declared on June 12, 1898, to Palanan, Isabela where President Emilio Aguinaldo was captured, an event which marked the end of the first Filipino government.

Inspired by the 34 Quincentennial Historical Markers installed along the Philippine route of the first circumnavigation of the world in 2021, each site will receive a national historical marker and a standard memorial to be called “Landas ng Pagkabansang Pilipino” (Philippine Nationhood Trail).

“NHCP is still firming up the sites where the Philippine Republic passed through, from Kawit to Palanan. Apart from this trail, we are also seeking the advice of various historical societies [on] what else needs to be marked and commemorated in the provinces, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao,” Philippine Information Agency-National Capital Region (PIA-NCR) information officer Alehia Therese Abuan told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.

“One of the latest requests came from Cebu City OIC Mayor Donaldo ‘Dondon’ Hontiveros who asked to include the 125th anniversary of the capture of Fort San Pedro on Dec. 29, 2023,” Ms. Abuan added. “We want the 125th anniversary [to be as] inclusive as possible because it’s about the formation and the making of the Filipino nation.”

Other milestones covered in the celebration are: the 125th anniversary of the creation of the Philippine Flag and National Anthem in June 2023; the 125th anniversary of the First Philippine Congress in Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, in September 2023; the 125th anniversary of the First Philippine Constitution in January 2024; the 125th anniversary of the start of the First Philippine Republic in Malolos in January 2024; the 125th anniversary of the Philippine-American War in January 2024; the 125th anniversary of the Siege of Baler in June 2024; and the 125th anniversary of the deaths of Antonio Luna and Gregorio del Pilar in June and December 2024.

HISTORICAL DATABASE
Another project on NHCP’s roadmap is the National Memory Project.

Isa itong database na patatakbuhin ng NHCP na pwedeng gamitin ng manunulat ng kasaysayan sa kanilang paglaganap ng ating kaalaman sa ating kasaysayan (It will be a database run by the NHCP that historians can use to expand our knowledge on our history),” Mr. Escalante said in his speech.

Contents of the database will be uploaded to a website.

Sa proyetong ito, hihingin ulit namin ang suporta ng mga LCHN members na kung meron kayong mahalagang dokumento sa inyong lugar or sa inyong collection, magtulungan tayo para ma digitize ito para maisama sa National Memory Project (For this project, we will again ask the support of LCHN members that if they have important documents in their area and in their collections, let us cooperate to digitize them to be included in the National Memory Project),” Mr. Escalante said.

Member-Affiliates of the LHCN will also hold activities and projects focusing on the stories from the different provinces and regions on the birth of Philippine independence.

The last time the government held a major project focusing on the country’s independence and nationhood was in 1998 under administration of late President Fidel V. Ramos which marked the Philippine Centennial. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman