|Opening of the Malolos Congress|
On the sunny morning of January 23, 1899, the First Philippine Republic, popularly known as the Malolos Republic, was inaugurated amidst colorful ceremonies at the Barasoain Church. This was also the first republic in Asia. The Malolos Constitution, which established the Malolos Republic states that the people have exclusive sovereignty. It states basic civil rights, separated the church from the state, and called for the creation of an Assembly of Representatives which would act as the legislature. It also calls for a presidential form of government with the president elected for a term of four years by a majority of the Assembly
In this inaugural address, President Aguinaldo expressed his congratulations for drafting the Malolos Constitution, to the armed forces for winning the country's freedom by force of arms, and to the Filipino people for their cooperation and sacrifices in the struggle for independence. He stated the aspiration of the nation "to live under the democratic regime of the Philippine Republic, free from the yoke of any foreign domination." In conclusion, he declared:
"Great is this day, glorious this date, and forever memorable this moment in which our beloved people are raised to the apotheosis of Independence."
The Philippine Republic was, however, short-lived (1898-1899). From the start, Aguinaldo’s forces were fighting the Spaniards without military assistance from the Americans. Except for the Battle of Manila Bay, the United States was not a major force in the fighting. The American troops did not arrive in the country until late June, and they saw no military action until August. But events starting with the Spanish surrender of Manila on August 13, 1898, doomed the end of Philippine independence
|The Barasoain Church in Malolos is the historical site of the constitutional convention that led to the establishment of the First Philippine Republic|