Philippine–American War Memorial Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: February 4, 2024

Philippine–American War Memorial Day in the Philippines Philippine–American War Memorial Day is a special working holiday observed in the Philippines on February 4 every year. It was established to honor Filipinos who died fighting against American occupational forces.

The Philippine–American War is typically regarded as a continuation of the Philippine struggle for independence that began with the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire (1896–1898). During the revolution, Spain found itself at war with the United States, with the latter aiding Philippine revolutionaries.

Even though the United States helped Philippine revolutionaries fight against Spain, it did not recognize the independence of the Philippines and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. According to the Treaty of Paris that the United States and Spain signed after the defeat of Spain in the Spanish–American War, Spanish agreed to cede the Philippines to the United States.

Fighting between the First Philippine Republic and the United States broke out on February 4, 1899. It all started with an American soldier firing at a group of Filipino soldiers in Santa Mesa, Manila. The violence quickly escalated into a full-fledged battle between American soldiers and Filipino militiamen. The Battle of Manila ended the next day with American victory, although both sides suffered casualties and losses.

By November 1899, American forces had gained superiority on the battlefield, and Philippine president Emilio Aguinaldo disbanded the regular army and declared guerrilla warfare as a new war strategy. This made it harder for the United States to claim its sovereignty over the Philippine archipelago; it even seemed at first that the Filipinos would be able to force the Americans to withdraw with their guerrilla raids.

However, American forces led by General Frederick Funston eventually managed to capture Aguinaldo in his headquarters in Palanan. Aguinaldo was captured on March 23, 1901 and swore allegiance to the United States on April 19. His oath put an end to the First Philippine Republic and affirmed the sovereignty of the United States over the Philippines. Some Filipino commanders continued to fight against the Americans after that, but on July 2, 1902 the United States officially declared the end of the war.

After the defeat in the Philippine–American War, the Philippines became an unincorporated territory of the United States. The war resulted in at least 200,000 Filipino civilian deaths (according to some estimates, their number was close to a million); most civilians died from famine or diseases such as cholera. The casualties of the Philippine military were between 10,000 and 20,000.

Philippine–American War Memorial Day (Araw ng Paggunita sa Digmaang Pilipino–Amerikano) was established by the Congress of the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019 and observed for the first time on February 4, 2020. The holiday commemorates the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who fought and died defending the nation from American occupation. It is marked by remembrance ceremonies and school activities held across the country.

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Philippine–American War Memorial Day in the Philippines, observances in the Philippines, memorial days, remembrance days