National Press Freedom Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: August 30, 2024

National Press Freedom Day in the Philippines National Press Freedom Day (Pambansang Araw ng Kalayaan sa Pamamahayag) is celebrated in the Philippines on August 30 every year. It was created to promote, protect, and safeguard the right to freedom of the press granted by the Philippine Constitution.

National Press Freedom Day was officially established by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2022. It is celebrated on August 30 to commemorate the birthday of Marcelo H. del Pilar, also known by his pen name Pláridel. Del Pilar was a renowned Filipino lawyer, author, and journalist who is widely regarded as the “Father of Philippine journalism”.

Marcelo H. del Pilar was born on August 30, 1850 in Bulakan. His parents belonged to the wealthy upper class (principalía) and made sure their son received an excellent education from an early age. Del Pilar obtained the Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 1871 and began to study law. He finished his studies in 1881 and started working as a defense councilor.

Del Pilar is probably best known as one of the leading figures of the anti-friar movement in the Philippines. The main goal of the movement was to destroy the authority of the Spanish friars and their influence on internal affairs. In 1882, Del Pilar founded the patriotic newspaper Diariong Tagalog, which he used to denounce the abuse of the Spanish friars and advocate for government reform. Sadly, the newspaper ceased publication five months later due to financial difficulties.

Del Pilar’s anti-friar activism eventually resulted in an arrest warrant being issued for him in 1888. Del Pilar left Manila for Spain, where he continued his political activism. Several months after his arrival, he became the editor of the newspaper La Solidaridad, which published about the social, economic and cultural conditions in the Philippines and advocated for secularization, freedom of assembly and speech, and other reforms.

La Solaridad ceased publication in 1895 due to lack of funds. Del Pilar lost hope in reforms and decided to return to the Philippines to join the revolutionary movement. However, he had to cancel his journey due to contracting tuberculosis and died on July 4, 1896. Since Del Pilar is widely regarded as the greatest Philippine journalist, it is not surprising that his birthday was chosen as the date of National Press Freedom Day.

Events and activities celebrating the occasion are coordinated by the Department of Education, the Commission of Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Their main goal is to educate the general public about the importance of the press, the rights and social responsibilities of journalists, and the need to eliminate all forms of violence against the press. National Press Freedom Day is a working holiday, which means that employees are not entitled to an extra day off or any compensation if they work on this day.

National Press Freedom Day is not the only Philippine holiday dedicated to the freedom of the press; there’s also National Campus Press Freedom Day, celebrated on July 25 to commemorate the founding anniversary of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. However, both holidays have been criticized for their hypocrisy since the regime of President Duterte was notorious for its war on press freedom.

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National Press Freedom Day in the Philippines, observances in the Philippines, professional days, Marcelo H. del Pilar