Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: March 17, 2024

Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Day in the Philippines Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Day is observed in the Philippines on March 17 every year. It commemorates the death anniversary of the seventh president of the Philippines who was widely regarded as “people’s president”.

Ramon Magsaysay was born on August 31, 1907 in the province of Zambales. Upon graduating from high school, he enrolled in the University of the Philippines where he studied mechanical engineering. In 1928, Magsaysay transferred to the Institute of Commerce at José Rizal College, from which he graduated four years later with a bachelor’s degree in commerce.

For the next ten years, Magsaysay worked as an automobile mechanic and a shop superintendent. Following the outbreak of World War II, he joined the army. For the majority of the way, Magsaysay was a guerrilla fighter; he was one of those who helped clear the Zambales coast from the Japanese prior to the landing of the Philippine Commonwealth and American troops.

Magsaysay’s political career started on 1946, when his fellow former guerrillas encouraged him to run for the Philippine House of Representatives as a candidate from the Liberal Party. He served as Representative for four years before being appointed as Secretary of National Defense and tasked with suppressing the Hukbalahap Rebellion started by Philippine communists. Magsaysay also served as the GM of the Manila Railroad Company for a few months in 1951.

In November 1953, Magsaysay defeated the incumbent president Elpidio Quirino in the presidential election. During his inauguration, he deliberately wore a barong tagalog (a traditional Philippine outfit) to support his image as “a man of the masses”. As president, Magsaysay aligned himself with the United States and frequently spoke against communism.

During his presidency, Magsaysay worked on bridging the gap between the government and the people. He opened the presidential palace to the general public, initiated an agrarian reform, ended the Hukbalahap Rebellion, initiated the creation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and the establishment of the Joint United States–Philippines Defense Council, negotiated a trade agreement with the United States, and signed a reparation agreement with Japan.

Sadly, Magsaysay’s presidential term was cut short by a deadly plane crash. The presidential plane with Magsaysay on board was reported missing in the morning of March 17, 1957 while on route from Cebu City to Manila. Later in the day, it was reported that the airplane had crashed and that Magsaysay was dead.

March 17 was designated as Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Day by a presidential proclamation issued by Ferdinand Marcos on March 7, 1966. According to the proclamation, the main goal of the observance to honor Magsaysay’s contribution to improving the lives of the poor and disenfranchised, making the concept of “government for the people” a reality, and strengthening the course of freedom and liberty.

Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Day is marked by a 21-gun salute fired at noon in all Philippine military areas. In addition, national flags must be flown at half-mast throughout the country and at Philippine diplomatic missions abroad. All government offices and public schools in the Philippines are expected to hold brief programs that involve the reading of the Magsaysay Credo and a silent prayer.

Since Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Day is not a non-working holiday, all educational establishments, government offices, banks, and businesses operate as usual unless March 17 falls on a weekend.

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Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Day in the Philippines, observances in the Philippines, remembrance days, memorial days