Sponsorship Speech Of Senator Loren Legarda For Senate Bill No. 2690 Or “The Bacoor Assembly Of 1898 Act”

May 22, 2024

Mr. President, my esteemed colleagues,
I proudly proclaim today, just as 200 of our forebears did at a very important assembly in 1898, a momentous day in Philippine History. Through this august chamber, the present generation acknowledges a significant event in our past that was nearly consigned to the dustbins of history as a minor footnote. I am referring to the Bacoor Assembly that transpired on August 1, 1898, during the tumultuous days of our struggle for independence. This event was erroneously dubbed by previous historians as ratification of independence. But the truth is, the Bacoor Assembly was convened in order to publish and to let our independence be known to the world. Apolinario Mabini wrote and prepared the Acta de Independencia, signed by around 200 elected local officials representing 16 provinces. President Emilio Aguinaldo approved the said Act of Independence, which was eventually disseminated worldwide. The Malolos Congress ratified such an important document on September 29, 1898.

The ACTA was a product of a series of events when Emilio Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines on May 19, 1898, from exile in Hong Kong. We started to taste the Filipino victory in the battle of Alapan on May 28, 1898. Town by town, Filipinos achieved a string of victories over the Spaniards, leading President Aguinaldo to proclaim our independence on June 12, 1898, introducing our national flag and national anthem. These events were followed by decrees constituting our national and local governments and later, the swearing-in of municipal presidents on August 1, 1898, in Bacoor. After they took their oath, Apolinario Mabini presented them the Act of Independence, which they unanimously approved.

Allow me to quote the August 1, 1898 Act of Independence with minor modifications for better appreciation.

“Ang mga Punong napipirma sa ibaba, na nahalal sa mga bayang nasasakop ng mga probinsya o kabayanang nakatala sa huli, ayon sa ipinagbibilin sa utos ng ika-labingwalo (18) at tagubilin ng ika-dalawampu (20) ng Hunyong nagdaan, na mapagtibay na sa kanikanilang katungkulan ng Presidente ng Gobyerno at magawa sa harap nito ang panunumpang nauukol, ay nagkatipon sa isang malaking Kapisanan upang mapagpulungan ang paglalathala at pagtatanyag ng kasarinlan ng Pilipinas.”

This beginning paragraph clearly explains the nature and purpose of August 1, 1898 Act of Independence – an act of duly elected local officials deliberating our freedom and making our Independence known to the whole world.

I am very thankful that this significant event in our history will be properly commemorated as an equally important event during our campaign for independence.

I would like to thank the author of this bill in the lower House, Representative Lani Mercado-Revilla; the author of the bill in the Senate, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr; the National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairperson Lisa Guerrero-Nakpil for actively participating in scrutinizing the bill; and the collaboration of the Bacoor City and the Bacoor Historical Society. Worth mentioning is Dr. Emmanuel F. Calairo, immediate past chairperson of NHCP, for marking this forgotten phase in our struggle for freedom. Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues at the senate for extending their support for this bill.

Thank you very much at isang makasayasayan at luntiang Pilipinas sa lahat.