Philippine National Flag Day

May 28th is Philippine National Flag Day, which commemorates the date when the Philippine flag was first unfurled after the Philippine Revolutionary Army defeated the Spanish forces in the Battle of Alapan in 1898. The celebration starts from May 28 until June 12, the Philippine Independence Day. All Filipinos are then encouraged to display the Philippine flag in all offices, agencies and instruments of government, business establishments, schools and private homes throughout this period.

Filipinos must abide by the law governing the proper use and display of the flag, as mandated by Republic Act 8491 (The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines).

About the Philippine Flag

The three five-pointed stars symbolize the three major geographical subdivisions of the Philippine archipelago, namely Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The eight rays of the rising Sun symbolize the eight provinces declared by the colonial government in a state of war, namely, Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Morong, Laguna, Batangas, Nueva Ecija, and Cavite.

Marcela Mariño Agoncillo, maker of the national flag, added the white equilateral triangle symbolizes the Katipunan and the general outline was adopted from the Cuban revolutionary flag. The Philippine National Flag was banned from being displayed publicly by the Philippine Commission when it passed the Flag Law in 1907. This law was repealed when the United States Congress passed the Jones Law in 1916. The Jones Law granted the Filipino people full domestic autonomy.

Celebrating National Flag Day

The first celebration honoring the national emblem was held on October 30, 1919. On March 26, 1920, the National Assembly passed Act No. 2928 declaring the 1898 national emblem as the official national flag of the Philippines. On September 10, 1949, President Elpidio R. Quirino declared June 12 as National Flag Day. On March 6, 1965, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Proclamation No. 374 declaring May 28 as National Flag Day to commemorate the date the national emblem was first unfurled at the Battle at Alapan, Imus, Cavite. On May 24, 1994, President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No. 179 extending the period of celebrating National Flag Day to May 28-June 12.

Finally, on May 24, 2007, the Department of Interior and Local Government issued Memorandum Circular No. 2007-55 extending the celebration of National Flag Day to June 30 in conjunction with the celebration of Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s birthday on June 19 and Philippines-Spain Friendship Day on June 30. It is a priceless legacy of the 1896 Revolution for it embodies the ideals, principles, and ideology that pushed our forefathers to end foreign domination and recover Philippine freedom.

Additional Sources:

Department of Education – flag advocacy campaign
Manila Bulletin – National Flag Day
Yahoo! News Philippines – National Flag Day
Philippine Information Agency – May 28-June 12 is National Flag Week

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