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Philippine Independence Letter From the US – A Letter to the Nation

On this letter, a young nation proclaims its Philippine independence from a great power, transitioning from a colony to a democracy. Although people first think of the United States, they aren’t the only country that gained their freedom on this momentous day. Over a century and a half after the US declared its independence, its colony, the Philippines did the same thing in the aftermath of World War II.

Fight for Freedom

Although the Philippine independence in Revolution began in 1898 and managed to shake off Spanish colonial rule, America quickly filled the gap and conquered the burgeoning Philippine Republic in 1900. For the next 46 years, the Philippines would be under the stars and stripes. However, the idea of freedom would never fully die out as many Filipinos continued to fight for freedom, both on the battlefield and on the Congress floor.

As the Great Depression hit the world, the US’s hold on the Philippines became increasingly untenable as maintaining the government was expensive and the cheap exports to the US affected the local economy. In response, the US signed the Tydings-McDuffie Act in 1936 which created the Philippine Commonwealth Government, a transitional government that would prepare the Philippines for independence. 

Over this decade, the Philippine independence slowly gain more freedoms, being placed in charge of its borders, economy, and government. However, this commonwealth period would be interrupted by the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941. Even though the country fell to the Japanese Empire, the government under Manuel Quezon would continue in exile in the US. 

From Washington, the government would continue fighting for its freedom, petitioning the US to maintain the schedule of the commonwealth and to support Philippine independence after it was liberated by the Japanese. this government would survive the war and the death of its first two leaders, Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmenia.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf, known as the largest naval battle in history by the amount of tonnage sunk, signaled the start of the Allied forces’ efforts to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation. Fierce battles took place on the islands, and some Japanese soldiers continued to fight even after Japan officially surrendered on September 2, 1945.

Filipino and American forces also worked to suppress the Huk movement, which had been fighting against the Japanese occupation. They dismantled local Huk governments and arrested many leaders of the Philippine Communist Party. Despite these actions, the Huks still supported American and Filipino efforts against the Japanese.
By 1945, Allied troops had defeated the Japanese, but the war had devastating effects on the Philippines. Over a million Filipinos, including soldiers, guerrillas, and civilians, died. Infrastructure was heavily damaged, with coconut and sugar mills destroyed, inter-island shipping removed, and major cities like Manila, Cebu, and Zamboanga largely demolished.

Philippine Independence in 1946

On October 11, 1945, the Philippine independence joined as a founding member of the United Nations. The United States formally acknowledged the Philippines’ independence on July 4, 1946, through the Treaty of Manila, under the leadership of President Manuel Roxas. This treaty ended American sovereignty over the islands. Initially, Independence Day was celebrated on July 4, but in 1962, President Macapagal changed it to June 12 to honor the declaration of independence from Spain in 1898. This change was formalized in 1964, and July 4 became Philippine Republic Day.

By the time the Philippines was granted its independence on the Fourth of July in 1946, the current Commonwealth President, Manuel Roxas would become the Republic’s first president.  

“My countrymen:

I have taken my oath as President of the Philippines to defend and support the Constitution, and to enforce the laws of our country. I assume in all humbleness the complex responsibilities, which you have chosen to give me. I pledge my effort and my life to discharge them with whatever talent, strength, and energy I can muster.”

-Manuel Roax, Former Philippine President
philippine independence letter

Legacy of Philippine Independence

The official declaration of Philippine independence on July 4, 1946, marked the end of American colonial rule and the beginning of a new chapter in the nation’s history. President Manuel Roxas, the first president of the newly independent Republic of the Philippines, faced numerous challenges in stabilizing the country.

The aftermath of the war had left the economy in ruins, and the new government had to address issues such as reconstruction, poverty, and political corruption. Despite these obstacles, the establishment of an Philippine independence paved the way for future generations to build a nation based on democratic principles and national sovereignty. The legacy of the fight for independence continues to inspire Filipinos today, reminding them of their rich history and the enduring value of freedom.

Let us remember the legacy of our fight for independence, which continues to inspire us today. It is a reminder of our rich history and the enduring value of freedom.

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