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Thursday, August 15, 2013

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (August 15 to 21)

Aug. 15, 1945: The liberation of the Philippines from Japanese military becomes apparent as the Empire surrenders to end the Second World War. At noon that day, Emperor Hirohito read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War during a radio broadcast.

The Battle of Okinawa, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the declaration of war against Japan by the Soviet Union happened days before the Emperor's speech took place.

Aug. 15, 1945: Teen actress Gabriela Annjane U. Cruz, popularly known as Ella Cruz, is born in the town of Angat in Bulacan province. Cruz is part of the principal cast of the weekly miniseries Wansapanataym: OMG (Oh My Genius). She is also known for playing a mermaid in the defunct fantasy series Aryana.

Aug. 18, 2012: Jesus "Jesse" Manalastas Robredo (b. May 27, 1958) dies after the Piper PA-34-200 Seneca I aircraft carrying him crashed off the shore of Masbate. At the time of his death, Jesse Robredo was the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government.

Robredo was mayor of Naga City in Camarines Sur from 1988 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2010. He was a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000.

Aug. 19, 1878: Manuel L. Quezon, the president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 until his death in 1944, is born in the town of Baler in the province of Tayabas. (Note: Tayabas province was renamed Quezon in 1946. The town of Baler is now part of the province of Aurora).

Among his many achievements, Quezon was known as the Ama ng Wikang Pambansa ("Father of the National Language). Through Commonwealth Act No. 184, s. 1936, Quezon established the Institute that was tasked with the development of a Philippine national language.

Aug. 20, 1572: Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (b. circa 1502), the first Governor-General of Spanish East Indies, passes away in Manila. As Governor-General, Lopez de Legazpi founded the city of Cebu in 1565. This makes Cebu the oldest Philippine city. He also designated Manila the capital of the Spanish East Indies in 1571.

Aug. 20, 1939:  Actor, film producer, and director Fernando Poe Jr. (d. December 14, 2004) is born. Dubbed as "The King of Philippine Movies," Poe is also popularly known as FPJ and Da King. In many of his movies, Poe played a character who champions the cause of the masses. Through the years, Poe developed a screen persona that propelled him to box-office and critical success.

Poe is also one of the few actors who ventured into film production. As a result, he developed an archive that includes almost 200 titles. Poe also directed some of his movies under the name Ronwaldo Reyes. In 2004, Poe unsuccessfully ran for President of the Philippines against the incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In 2006, he was was posthumously declared by Macapagal-Arroyo as a National Artist of the Philippines for Film. Six years later, President Benigno Aquino III confirmed the award.

Aug. 21, 1971: An explosion during a Liberal Party campaign rally kills nine people and injuring 95 others in Plaza MirandaManila. Among those injured on the campaign stage were senatorial candidates Jovito Salonga, Eddie Ilarde, and Eva Estrada-Kalaw. Party president Gerardo Roxas and mayoral candidate Ramon Bagatsing were also injured.

Aug. 21, 1983: Opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. (b. November 27, 1932) is assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon returning from the United States. After the imposition of Martial Law in 1972, Ninoy was arrested and incarcerated, along with other dissidents. Seven years later, he was allowed to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment following a heart attack. Aquino stayed there until 1983.

Ninoy's assassination put his widow, Corazon "Cory" Aquino, into the political arena. Cory run against the incumbent Ferdinand Marcos in the 1986 snap elections. Allegations of massive electoral fraud contributed to the People Power Revolution which ousted Marcos. In honor of Ninoy, Manila International Airport has  been renamed Ninoy Aquino International AirportThe anniversary of his death is now a national holiday in the Philippines.

Aug. 21, 1988:  Guitarist and songwriter Teodoro "Teddy" de Villa Diaz (b. April 1, 1963), a founding member of the band The Dawn, is stabbed to death in Quezon City.

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