28 May 2009
Today, May 28, is Flag Day in the Philippines. Officially, the day is set to commemorate the first time the flag was used in battle on May 28, 1898 when General Emilio Aguinaldo's forces defeated Spanish troops in the Battle of Alapan.
However, this Manila Bulletin article tries to correct what it calls a "historical error." It points to the first unfurling of the Philippine flag in Cavite Nuevo (now Cavite City) and later on in Kawit, thus:
The first flag-waving therefore took place near the port of Cavite Nuevo, not in Alapan. The latter was where a famous battle took place. Historical accounts do not say that the flag fluttered at the battle. Clearly, it was the sight of the prisoners marching into the Cavite port that prompted Aguinaldo to bring out the flag made in Hong Kong and to display it publicly. It was a festive occasion imbued with patriotism, according to the general, the first battle of the second phase of the Philippine Revolution.
Whichever account is true, this day is a glorious one in our struggle to become a free nation.
With the occasion, Senator Richard Gordon is pushing anew Senate Bill No. 2590 which proposes the addition of a ninth ray to the sun on the Philippine flag. From information on the Senate website, the bill itself was filed on September 4, 2008.
Here's a report by Marisol Abdurahman of GMA-7's Saksi:
Senator Gordon cited in his bill the immortal Lapu-lapu, king of Mactan, the first Filipino leader to resist Spanish colonization killing in the process the great Portuguese circumnavigator of the world, Ferdinand Magellan; Sultan Kudarat who united Muslim clans in Cotabato, Lanao and Basilan, Rajah Sirongan who thwarted the first Spanish attempt to colonize Buayan and many other Muslim leaders.
In his explanatory note, Senator Gordon paid tribute to the bravery of our Muslim brothers and their invaluable contribution in our struggle to overthrow foreign rule:
With their bravery, our Muslim heroes left an imprint on national history that, at the very least, must be given due recognition in the most heraldic item of national importance — the Philippine flag. This bill proposes that the rays of the sun on the Philippine flag be increased from eight to nine, to symbolize the community of Muslim leaders who defended our land. They are our forgotten heroes, and through this proposal we seek to inculcate in the minds and heart of our people a just pride in their native Muslim brothers sacrificed their lives for the country's freedom."
I will post here the full text of Senator Gordon's bill when I return.