Gems of History

Chinese donors to inaugural fund

On June 12, the nation celebrated our 113th year of independence.

Between 1946 and 1962, our country celebrated Independence Day on July 4, the day we attained self-governance from American colonial rule.

Our nation declared independence twice. The first time was when our country became the first Asian republic, throwing off the yoke of Spanish colonial rule through a revolution led by Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898.

But two months later, Manila fell to American forces and the nation began another period of colonial rule. The Philippines was finally reborn as an independent republic on July 4, 1946.

The book A Republic is Born was published in 1948 by the Joint Executive Committee for the inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines to record this important event of 1946.

Thanks to Mayor Faustino Silang of Tayabas, Quezon, we found copies of this rare book in the city library in February during the Chinese New Year celebration.

There was surprise and excitement when we discovered in this book a “List of Contributors to the Philippine Republic Inaugural Fund.” In it, a section named 683 business establishments and individuals from the Chinese community.

The Flag of the United States is lowered while the Flag of the Philippines is being raised during independence ceremonies, July 4, 1946. (Photo from Official Gazette)

After further scrutiny, we discovered at least another 71 names of Chinese business establishments and individuals in other sections.

In all, at least 754 Chinese business establishments and individuals in 1946 contributed to the Philippine Republic Inaugural Fund that made the great event possible on July 4, 1946.

The List of Contributors named 1,577 institutions and individuals. Thus the 754 Chinese contributors listed is 47.8 percent, or nearly half, the total number of contributors.

In this sense, the Chinese contribution to the inauguration of the Philippine Republic on July 4, 1946, when A Republic is Born, is truly significant.