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AGAPI marks Fil-Am Day 2017; emphasises day’s importance

By Evelyn A. Opilas
Photos : Evelyn A. Opilas
July 24, 2017


The Association of Golden Australian Pilipinos Inc (AGAPI) marked Philippine American Friendship Day 8 July, its members confirming that they remember the time when July 4 was celebrated as the Philippines’ Araw ng Kalayaan (Independence Day).

“Fil-Am Day reminds AGAPI members of the Philippines’ and the United States’ long-standing friendship,” said Dorothy del Villar, AGAPI president.

AGAPI officer Emma Puntenila said it is important to mark the occasion because of what Filipinos and Americans have gone through to strengthen their bonds, basically as Allies during WWII.

‘Americans have had a deep impact on Filipino lives, and many Filipinos have also called the US their home,” she said.

On the day, AGAPI members were asked to attend in Filipino or American attire,
marking the occasion with lively song and dance to Filipino and American tunes, and merienda consisting of hot dog sandwiches and pancit.

According to Wikipedia, Philippine Republic Day, also known as Filipino-American Friendship Day, is held annually on 4 July, formerly an official holiday designated as Independence Day celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Manila, which granted Philippine Independence from the United States of America in 1946.

“The Philippine Islands were an American possession from 1898 to 1946, first as a territory and then as a Commonwealth beginning in 1935. Between 1941 and 1945, the Empire of Japan occupied the Islands during the Second World War; the Commonwealth government-in-exile headed by President Manuel Luis Quezon was based in Australia and later in the United States.

“A campaign to retake the country began in October 1944, when General Douglas MacArthur landed in Leyte along with Sergio Osmeña, who succeeded to the presidency after Quezon's death in 1944. The battles entailed long fierce fighting; some of the Japanese continued to fight until the official surrender of the Japan on 2 September 1945. The country gained complete independence on 4 July 1946.”
Initially, the Philippines’ Independence Day was held on 4 July.
President Diosdado Macapagal on May 12, 1962 issued Presidential Proclamation No. 28, which declared June 12 a special public holiday throughout the Philippines, "... in commemoration of our people's declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence.

Republic Act No. 4166, promulgated August 4, 1964, renamed July 4 as "Philippine Republic Day", proclaimed June 12 as "Philippine Independence Day", and encouraged Filipinos to observe June 12 with befitting rites.

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