Emilio Aguinaldo's Inaugural Address
|Inaugural Address (1899)
President of the Philippines of the First Philippine Republic
Delivered on January 23, 1899 at Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan
I congratulate you upon having concluded your constitutional work. From this date, the Philippines will have a National Code to the just and wise precepts of which we, each and every one of us, owe blind obedience, and whose liberal and democratic guarantees also extend to all. Hereafter, the Philippines will have a fundamental law which will unite our people with the other nations by the strongest of solidarities; that is the solidarity of justice, of law, and of right; eternal truths which are the basis of human dignity.
I congratulate myself also on seeing my constant efforts crowned; efforts which I continued from the time I entered the battlefield with my brave countrymen of Cavite, as did our brothers in other provinces with no arms, but bolos, to secure our liberty and independence. And finally, I congratulate our beloved people, who from this date will cease to be anonymous and will be able with legitimate pride to proclaim to the Universe the long coveted name of PHILIPPINE REPUBLIC.
We are no longer insurgents; we are no longer revolutionists; that is to say armed men desirous of destroying and annihilating the enemy. We are from now on Republicans; that is to say, men of law, able to fraternize with all other nations, with mutual respect and affection. There is nothing lacking, therefore, in order for us to be recognized and admitted as a free and independent nation.
Ah, Honorable Representatives! How much pain and bitterness do those passed days of Spanish slavery bring to our minds, and how much hope and joy do the present moments of Philippine liberty awaken in us.
Great is this day, glorious is the date; and this moment, when our beloved people rise to the apotheosis of independence, will be eternally memorable. The 23rd of January will be for the Philippines, hereafter a national feast, as is the Fourth of July for the American nation. And thus, in the same manner that God helped weak America in the last century, when she fought against powerful Albion (England), to regain her liberty and independence; He will also help us today in our identical goal, because the ways of Divine Justice are immutably the same in rectitude and wisdom.
A thousand thanks, honorable Representatives, for your parliamentary work, which enables us and establishes in a public and authentic manner, that we are a civilized nation and also a brave one; worthy, therefore, of being freely admitted into the concerts of nations.
You have justly deserved the gratitude of the country and of the government, in that you showed the entire world, by your Wisdom, sound sense, and prudence, that in this remote and heretofore unknown portion of the world, the principles of European and American civilization are known, and more than known; that intelligence and hearts here are perfectly in accord with those of the most civilized nations; and that notwithstanding the calumnious voice of our eternal detractors, there is here, finally, a national spirit, which unites and forges together all Filipino hearts into a single idea and single aspiration to live independent of any foreign yoke in the democratic shadow of the Philippine Republic.
For this reason, on seeing consecrated in our constitutional work the eternal principles of authority, of liberty, of order and justice, which all civilized nations profess, as the most perfect guaranty of their actual solidarity, I feel strength, pride, and am sincerely impelled, from the bottom of my heart to shout-
- Long live the Philippine Republic!
- Long live the Constitution!
- Long live their illustrious authors, the Representatives of the first Philippine Congress!
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