Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today in History - November 23, 1898

MANILA, Nov. 23 (PNA) -— On November 23, 1898, a commission of 10 members, presided over by Felipe Agoncillo, was formed in a move to launch an information blitz to heighten the awareness of the Western world on the capacity of the Filipinos to govern themselves.

Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo likewise created diplomatic positions abroad to press for the recognition of Philippine Independence as well as to carry on its propaganda activities for the Revolutionary government.

Hence, diplomatic agents were appointed: Felipe Agoncillo, for the United States; Mariano Ponce and Faustino Lichauco, for Japan; Antonio Regidor for England; Juan Luna and Pedro Roxas for France; and Eriberto Zarcal, for Australia.

In France, the Paris Committee was established by prominent Filipino residents of the city, and in Spain, the Madrid Committee.

However, efforts to embark on a full-scale diplomatic offensive proved futile with the signing of Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 (without consultation from the Filipinos) of which Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States for a "measly" US$ 20-million as payment for "improvements" undertaken in the colony.

The Treaty of Paris did not go into effect until the ratification by the U.S. Senate by two-thirds majority vote.

On February 1899, however, hostilities between the RP and U.S. erupted in San Juan when an American sentry fired the first shot against a Filipino.

The Americans, on the other hand, said it was a Filipino who fired the first shot.

Notwithstanding the portent of war, Filipino leaders proclaimed the Philippine Republic in Malolos with Aguinaldo as President on January 23, 1899.

It took the Americans three years to subdue the Filipinos.  

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