Rekindling the Filipino Spirit

Philippine Centennial

“We stand on the threshold of destiny. The end of my term will coincide with the centennial of our declaration of independence. Six years hence, the governments this nation has endured will pass in review and receive the judgment of history. They will be asked what they will do, what they did with the country’s independence. My administration will be the last before the centennial. That is my luck, for it will naturally receive the closest scrutiny. It is not only the spirit of independence that will demand a reckoning. In the next six years, the nation will commemorate other great centennials: the Cry of Pugad Lawin, the Battle of Pinaglabanan, the execution of Rizal. One hundred years of sacrifice and struggle. The ghosts of a generation of founding heroes shall step from their monuments to demand an accounting of the legacy they left behind.”   

President Fidel V. Ramos    
First State of the Nation Address    
27 July 1992    
Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City

President Ramos was deliberate about looking to history for insight. Since his youth, he had been particularly drawn to Dr. José Rizal, the national hero, and frequently reread his writing. Memory of the polymath’s foresight and patriotism, his courage as he faced death, and his excellence in an astonishing number of disciplines, endured for President Ramos as the model of the Filipino. It was fortuitous that the centenary of Rizal’s execution in 1896 and its ignition of the Philippine Revolution were to transpire during the Ramos presidency. Rizal’s yearning for a free and prosperous nation, with a clear view of the past, remained sound advice for the Centennial President. “I enter the future with a memory of the past”  (“Con el recuerdo del pasado, entro en el porvenir.”) is Dr. Rizal’s epigraph on his award-winning juvenile play published in 1880, “The Council of the Gods” (“El Consejo de los Dioses”). The often-quoted passage is inscribed in the historical marker at the cell in which Rizal was incarcerated, in Fort Santiago, Intramuros, prior to his execution. The cell was re-enshrined as secular hallowed ground during the Ramos-led centennial celebrations.

The National Centennial Commission came to be synonymous with President Ramos, who established it and gave ample financial and logistics wherewithal for it to roll out a wide-spectrum cultural program. Executive Order No. 128 reconstituted the committee in charge of the preparations for the national centennial celebrations, a body created by President Corazon C. Aquino in 1991. The Executive Order established the National Centennial Commission (NCC, or the Commission), expanded its membership and responsibilities66, strengthened its powers and functions, and designated former Vice President Salvador H. Laurel and former Prime Minister Cesar E. A. Virata as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, with former Presidents Diosdado M. Macapagal and Corazon C. Aquino as the Honorary Chairpersons. The esteemed leaders lent their prominence and prestige to the preparations, and embodied the status of NCC’s work among the administration’s priorities. The Commissioners were organized into thirty standing committees (Publications, Communications, International Relations, Private Sector Affairs, Infrastructure, Flagship, and others) and some forty sub-committees, all organized under a Secretariat headed by an Executive Director, who was in turn supported by two Deputy Executive Directors, and eleven Directors all assigned administrative tasks and functions including the shepherding of specific committees and sub-committees.

NCC reported directly to the President, providing him with weekly updates. Its recommendations often pertained to directives or laws that would institutionalize particular practices and standards in historical narrativization and symbols.67 Immediately after its creation, the Commission’s first Presidential instruction was to prepare and submit, within six months, a comprehensive five-year plan for the Centennial celebrations for his approval.68

Entrusted with the task to plan, coordinate, and synchronize activities of the Centennial celebrations, the Commission was responsible for mobilizing the entire Filipino population around the historic date. Its initiatives imparted knowledge and deepened understanding and appreciation of the country’s history and identity, particularly in light of her struggle for freedom and independence. Its public-private collaborations undertook the study, conceptualization, and formulation of programs and projects that endeavored to distil the essence of the Filipino spirit. The Commission underwrote a chain of efforts that expressed this spirit in artistic output, infrastructure, museum upgrades, exhibitions, new monuments, and so forth. Intending to rouse Filipinos around the celebrations, President Ramos hoped for a pivot into national transformation towards a culturally and economically robust society.

The Centennial Five Year Plan embodied the political will for this pivot, deploying the revival of patriotism and a secure sense of identity to animate the Philippines 2000 strategy.  Harnessing the patriotic past to the work of nation-building became the Ramos approach to governance. The Plan was also systematic: it covered the years from 1994 to 1998, with each year made thematically coherent and incrementally increasing in momentum towards marking the Centennial of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence and the First Philippine Republic on 23 January 1999.

The NCC commenced its activities in 1994 with a national competition on the logo design and slogan for the Centennial celebrations. Open to all Filipinos, the contest brought in more than 5,000 local and international entries. Edgardo Santiago won for the logo design, and Joachim Medroso wrote the slogan—Kalayaan, Kayamanan ng Bayan (Freedom, Wealth of the Nation). This winning slogan expanded the concept of kalayaan (freedom) to transcend the events of the 1896 Philippine Revolution and encompass freedom from hunger, conflict, injustice, and ignorance in the present.

The NCC coordinated and monitored all the activities while serving as the clearing house for information. The standing and sub-committees and technical working groups engaged experts and luminaries in the fields of international relations, history, infrastructure, communications and advocacy, education, journalism, marketing and advertising, the arts, culture, and literature. The roster of members and allies exhibited the non-partisan nature of the Commission; it amalgamated individuals who kept varying and even opposing political views, but who nonetheless set aside differences to commit to common cause. With less than four years to accomplish the approved Plan, the Commission set its sights on 12 June 1998, an immovable deadline. The members and allies shared the view that a successful celebration would be the finest tribute to the nation’s heroes who gave their lives for freedom and independence.

The premier project was the Centennial Freedom Trail (CFT), to which a battery of historians, educators, architects, engineers, curators, and environmentalists from the government and the private sector were rallied. They formulated and fleshed out a geographic set of nodes where events of the Philippine Revolution took place. The CFT nodes were then developed into secular shrines, retooled museums, and/or revitalized public spaces. Each node is an homage to a significant figure or event in the Revolution, the site scheduled for redevelopment and/or curatorial retooling for reinvigorated memorialization. The sites are located throughout the country, from the northern Luzon Cordilleras to Mindanao, and, via infrastructure and program intervention, were gathered in the national imagination as the geography of the Revolution. The geographic iteration of the revolutionary narrative was to bring a spatial reality to bear on themes of heroism and patriotism.

Determining a final CFT site list exercised the assigned expert group for months. They reviewed locations and individuals of significance, leaving out none as they processed considerable data in weighing each place’s contribution to the success of the revolution and the roles of specific Katipunan members in delivering the Philippines from Spain’s rule. Consultations, ocular visits, and further research were conducted for historical, geographical, and architectural accuracy. The Commission en banc approved the proposed CFT, and presented it to the President. A prolonged discussion still ensued during that meeting but a consensus was eventually reached on the final list of seventeen CFT sites, fourteen of which were the Trunk Sites. Feasibility studies for long-term site sustainability were prepared, curatorial plans drawn up by veteran curators, scopes of work per site were laid out, budgets drawn up, and timetables for implementation fixed. Further review leading to multiple revisions, mostly to ensure long-term maintenance, arrived at a CFT that was more than a plan to refurbish, renovate, and erect structures. It was a blueprint that incorporated provisions for viability and sustainability into the chosen historic sites, for them to weather time and resist neglect and disrepair. The schemes to finance the CFT included the lease-maintain-and-transfer and build-operate-transfer concepts. An adopt-a-site concept was offered to the private sector for limited time frames until the appropriate laws, directives or decrees, would have either been issued or amended to authorize local government units and appropriate government agencies to efficiently manage these sites.

The renovated National Museum complex is widely regarded as a signal achievement of President Ramos. Prior to his tenure, the institution did not have a permanent site and only occupied a floor in the Philippine Congress building for decades. The museum collection was kept in another government building in Ermita, Manila. Attention to this situation commenced after President Ramos received a letter from a group of respected cultural figures who called themselves the Concerned Citizens of the National Museum (CCNM). They requested that the government provide the museum with a permanent home, specifically a return to the building’s (occupied then by the Philippine Senate) original use as intended by its builders, the American colonial government, to house a national museum and library. Prior to receiving this appeal, President Ramos already had planned for a national museum home to be inaugurated in time for the Centennial celebration. The permanent home he envisioned is today’s complex of buildings.

The building once occupied by the Senate, and the American period neoclassical edifices of the Departments of Agriculture and Finance, around a rotunda called the Agrifina Circle (occupied in the decades prior to the Ramos administration by the Departments of Finance and Tourism) were to be the museum’s triune home. As early as 1994, President Ramos had issued instructions to the Secretaries of the Finance and the Tourism to prepare for the turnover of the buildings occupied by their departments to the National Museum. He communicated the same to the Philippine Senate, which, at that time, was in the process of searching for a new location. The Department of Finance was the first to turn over to the museum, and transferred offices to the Bangko Sentral Complex in 1995. The Department of Tourism planned to move out by 1997, but funding issues prevented immediate compliance. In January 1996, the President signed Administrative Order No. 246, creating a Presidential Committee to oversee the rehabilitation of the National Museum complex, and ensure its timely and efficient accomplishment.

By mid-1996, the Philippine Senate had vacated its premises and moved to the building of the Government Securities and Insurance System (GSIS) built on the reclaimed area on Manila Bay. With two of the three buildings vacated, work began. AO No. 246 tasked the Presidential Committee:

to formulate a comprehensive strategy or plan for the rehabilitation, development, and operation of the National Museum, consistent with its purposes, and which will harness the collective strength of the government and private sectors, and submit the same to the President for approval; undertake, implement, coordinate and monitor fund-raising projects, programs and activities pursuant to the said strategy or plan, to finance the rehabilitation and development of the National Museum; and, establish such working sub-committees as may be necessary, and invite the members thereof from the government and private sectors….

This AO was a precursor to Republic Act No. 8492, or The National Museum Act of 1998, signed by the President on 12 February 1998. The law provided a new charter for the National Museum as an autonomous government trust instrumentality, its authority, and functions; and establishing its permanent home. It also enumerated the composition of its Board of Trustees with the President as Honorary Chairperson and Patron.

The eve of 12 June 1998 marked the symbolic rebirth of the National Museum during the inauguration of the old Finance building, renamed the National Museum of the Filipino People, by President Ramos. He dedicated the imposing structure to his vision of a proud and honorable nation born from a revolution for sovereignty. It was an homage to the courage and bravery of Filipino revolutionaries, and so the museum opened with an extended exhibit offering a narrative on Filipino emergence. Among the included experiences was “The Treasures of the San Diego,” a traveling exhibition of marine archaeological artifacts from the rich wreck of the galleon of this name. In the following years, the National Museum of Fine Arts was inaugurated at the building the Philippine Senate used to occupy, and the National Museum of Natural History opened at the building  formerly used by the Departments of Agriculture and Tourism. This project was an instructive example of the necessity of institutional reform to address a long-standing problem.

The same large-scale, institution-rebuilding approach was employed to refresh the Libingan ng mga Bayani, or the Heroes Memorial Cemetery, at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City. This national shrine for individuals regarded as heroes—principally for military personnel, and particularly for those who fell in battle—is also the official cemetery for distinguished Filipinos who served in the government, including war veterans, presidents, vice presidents, dignitaries, patriots, jurists, members of Congress, and national heroes. In 1993, National Artists and National Scientists were included in the list of individuals entitled to a state funeral and interment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, through Executive Order No. 131. A state funeral affords appropriate honors and ceremonies befitting the stature of the deceased and provides the bereaved family full government assistance in the form of arrangements for the funeral and underwriting its expenses.

In honor of the heroes interred in these hallowed grounds that occupy an area of about 142 hectares, the Centennial celebrations included the construction of a new gateway. This Heroes Memorial Gate, described as “a boxed tripod of steel sheets soaring to the height of twenty-four meters that demarcates the entrance to the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” conveyed several symbolic meanings. It can be interpreted to represent the three geographic regions of the country, the three branches of government or the three branches of the military service. It may be seen as an emulation of the delta symbol of the Katipunan. The idealized set of meanings is the allegory of liberty, equality, and brotherhood, which is reiterated by the physical core of the gateway: an immense glass and stainless steel sculpture. The fourteen-meter sculpture has blue glass flames with doves of peace hovering around the flames. At the vertex of the tripod is an eternal flame depicted with glass surrounds. An elevated concentric ring having a bandwidth of thirty meters symbolizes the binding force that keeps the meaning of trinity together. On the platform,  murals depicting historic milestones are etched  in thick glass.”69 The Heroes Memorial Gate was inaugurated during the Centennial celebrations.

The Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and the Department of National Defense undertook parallel efforts to revitalize the entire property of the Libingan ng mga Bayani. A prominent architectural company was engaged to deliver a design, which included an administrative area and a location for a presidential shrine. New landscaping features addressed flooding and puddling in some areas.

The Commission likewise attended to the rehabilitation of the Philippine Naval Headquarters along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, where the Maritime Museum holds the country's naval relics and treasures, and other evidence of the country's maritime history and heritage. This museum acknowledges the Philippine Navy’s contribution to claiming Philippine independence from Spain. During the revolution, Filipino members of the Spanish Army and Navy switched their allegiance to the Philippines and acted as force multipliers to the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK). The mutineers continued to fight alongside the KKK. The Biak-na-Bato Constitution included a provision that established a naval force in recognition of its strategic role in protecting Philippine coasts and seas from pirates, invaders, and potential colonizers. The Maritime Museum initiative was a collaboration among the National Centennial Commission, the Philippine Navy, and the Manila Yacht Club, with the assistance of the Development Academy of the Philippines, in conducting a Strategic Planning Workshop meant to ensure the viability and sustainability of the Museum. Its inauguration coincided with the Centennial of the Philippine Navy on 20 May 1998.

A flagship project of the Ramos administration, the Philippine Centennial Exposition, or Expo Pilipino, located at the Clark Special Economic Zone, commemorated the Centennial of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. Expo Pilipino sat on a parcel of land, called the Elephant Cage, of what was once an American military air base. Totally devastated by the June 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, an active volcano located on the tripoint boundary of Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga provinces, the damage from the magma flow and ashfall gave the US military little choice but to evacuate and permanently close the base. The President’s decision to build the Expo at Clark was strategically considered. He hoped to revive Central Luzon, which suffered the brunt of the volcanic eruption, and resurrect areas buried under ash and lahar. He envisioned hubs of commerce and industry as well as centers of retail trade and investments to provide livelihood and business opportunities for locals in the area.

Most importantly, to his mind, investing in the future of Central Luzon would dispel doubts and allay fears that the once progressive region would not recover from the departure of the US forces. President Ramos intended to stave away any dismissal of the Filipino’s ability to always rise to a challenge and succeed beyond expectation. Setting up the Expo with permanent structures in Clark would not only sustain Filipino heritage and culture, but would also breathe new life into the region. The Expo attracted the interest of entrepreneurs and investors, who inquired after aspects of the Expo and Clark Master Plans. They explored possible business ventures in the full range of industries: the hospitality, medical, retail, food, tourism, automotive, logistics, transportation, sports, and entertainment enterprises. As construction of Expo Pilipino structures made steady progress, various enterprises and establishments were setting up shop in and around Clark.

Expo Pilipino was inaugurated on 03 May 1998. The guest of honor was President Ramos who acted as tour guide to the guests. Expo Pilipino, an expansive heritage-themed site, wove in dimensions of Philippine history and culture in a mix of open-air museums, pavilions, plazas, performances, and exhibits. A project managed by the National Centennial Commission and the Philippine Centennial Exposition Corporation, the Expo’s overall theme focused on people, places, and events that contributed to molding the multi-faceted character of the Filipino identity. The Freedom Ring, the Expo’s centerpiece, was a 35,000-seat amphitheater for concerts, theatre plays, cultural presentations, and social gatherings. The Ring was designed to exhibit advanced Filipino engineering, where massiveness met buoyancy as meters-high pylons bore the weight and tensile strength of an all weather-resistant fabric roof. In a display of Filipino creativity, the roof’s design was patterned after a fan that shielded the audience and performers from harsh weather conditions, while providing ample ventilation and unrestricted movement.

An Indigenous Village was built as an outdoor museum to exhibit replicas of indigenous houses, including those of the Maranao, Tboli, Ifugao, Aeta, and Kalinga indigenous cultural communities. Also staged were customary practices, including ritual and dance, in regular performances. In these stagings, the Expo intended to demonstrate traditional skill, resiliency, and adaptiveness.  In another section called the Colonial Plaza, tableaux demonstrated the colonial experience leading to the revolution for independence. Replicas of the entrance arch of Intramuros and the Barasoain Church, where the first Philippine Constitution was written in 1898, were constructed to evoke the birth of Asia’s first constitutional republic (also called the Cradle of Democracy in the East). And a Global Village hosted a representation of the Korea-Philippines Friendship Pavilion, the Spanish Pavilion, Mitsubushi Motors Corporation, and San Miguel Corporation, among others. Several development partners, investors, and multi-national corporations were ably represented as well.

This Expo project met with controversy and allegations of corruption a year after President Ramos ended his term. Committed to transparency and accountability, he appeared before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which conducted the inquiry. He also instructed his Cabinet to submit documents as requested, and to likewise attend the hearings. A separate Committee formed by President Ramos’ successor set out to also look into these allegations. This five-man Independent Citizens’ Committee, and Congress, both exonerated President Ramos.

As for the rest of the Centennial projects, the Ramos administration concluded the massive endeavor with an unblemished record. The Philippine Centennial Movement (PCM) was, as he envisioned, accepted as the contemporary KKK. As stewards of the KKK legacy, the PCM’s challenge was to then reach out and engage all Filipinos, spread awareness of the Centennial, instill pride in the Filipino identity, and inculcate the desire to help build the country. With the assistance of the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Labor and Employment, the PCM was able to organize chapters of Filipinos working and residing abroad (in the continents of Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia), particularly in locations where Philippine embassies and consulates were situated. These chapters, in turn, helped cascade information on government’s plans and programs on the Centennial celebrations. Many PCM chapters were established in areas where a high concentration of Filipino expatriates, migrants, and overseas Filipino workers lived, such as the United States, Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Eastern European nations such as the Czech Republic and Austria. Aside from geographical composition, sectoral chapters— medical, hospitality, culture and the arts, education, women, the youth, business, religious—were formed as well. Overseas Filipino workers, recognized by government as modern-day heroes, formed themselves into chapters and set their sights on 1998 as their grand homecoming year. The civil service was likewise encouraged to enlist in PCM chapters within their cluster areas.

As NCC’s primary advocacy mechanism, the PCM saw 1995 as a pivotal year to enlist the support of individuals, institutions, and socio-civic organizations in their efforts to mobilize, organize chapters, and help design activities and programs in line with the Centennial five-year plan. President Ramos saw the movement as a uniting force “to stand out in our part of the world as a people capable of charting our own destiny in accordance with the principles and institutions associated with democracy.” His unparalleled support through the years leading to 1998 empowered the PCM to become a highly effective vehicle in generating grassroots support. This worldwide movement was instrumental in reawakening of the true Filipino spirit and pride in the Filipino identity—a revolution towards national transformation.

President Ramos went on a state visit to Spain in September 1994 to “build a new bridge between the Philippines and Spain, a sturdy bridge of commerce, finance and technology…on the strong foundations of our history, our cultural affinity and the values that we share.” The trip, three decades since the last visit of a Philippine President, was a renewal of the historic friendship between the two countries, and the beginning of a new relationship built on shared values and common interests. While 1898 may have marked an inevitable separation, 1998 presented an opportunity for the Philippines to reaffirm its shared historical and cultural past with Spain and Latin America. This inviolable bond could be gleaned from the extraordinary, unfailing, and exquisite courtesies extended by Their Majesties and the Prime Minister to President Ramos and his delegation, gestures that sprang from the goodwill that the people of Spain felt for the Philippines and the Filipinos, and a genuine display of affinity that reflected the true character of Spain and its people.

During his brief visit, the President held serious discussions with major Spanish business and corporate leaders, and leaders and administrators of the Spanish government with whom the Philippine business delegation, composed of leaders and captains of industry, would further engage to explore opportunities for trade and investment. In his conversations with Their Majesties as well as with the Spanish Prime Minister, the President offered to gift Spain a replica of the Rizal monument at the Luneta (Rizal Park) in honor of centuries-long relations, and in time for the commemoration of the Centennial of the Martyrdom of José Rizal, and the celebration of the Centennial of Philippine Independence. The Spanish monarchy and government graciously accepted the gift of the Philippine government and identified the junction of Avenida de las Islas Filipinas and Calle Santander as a prominent location in Madrid where the monument would be installed. Sculptor Florante Caedo was commissioned to hew Rizal’s figure in bronze, including the figures on the obelisk’s base. The base and the obelisk were constructed onsite, its specifications faithful to the one that stands in Rizal Park. The monument was unveiled on 30 December 1996, the centennial of Rizal’s martyrdom70.

From 1992 to 1998, President Ramos led the charge in inculcating a deeper sense of nationhood, guided by a historical recollection of Filipino revolutionaries whose virtues and sacrifices secured the country’s sovereignty. He rallied a nation to  courageously face the future with a determination and confidence to win “our own battles and triumph over whatever challenges destiny may throw at us.” Executive issuances mobilized the bureaucracy and encouraged the private sector’s participation in national events, initiatives, and celebrations. Private sector engagement and support was replete and absolute: from spearheading the Adopt-a-Centennial Freedom Trail site where a company or corporation defrayed the cost of maintaining the upkeep of the adopted site for one year; to the launching of the Centennial License Plate project, the proceeds from which were used for the upkeep of Centennial Freedom Trail sites.

The film industry contributed three biographical films on national hero Dr. José P. Rizal. The film José Rizal: Ang Buhay ng Isang Bayani, directed by Butch Nolasco, featured Pen Medina as Rizal and hit the big screens in 1996. Rizal sa Dapitan, released in 1997, was directed by Amable Aguiluz III with Albert Martinez playing Rizal. GMA Films, the film production arm of GMA Network, gathered leading industry actors to produce a movie based on historical literature that chronicled the life of the national hero Dr. José Rizal. Actor Cesar Montano played Rizal, with Marilou Diaz-Abaya directing. Released in 1998, this movie garnered immense praise and topped the box office.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP, Philippine Central Bank) issued commemorative items.  A Centennial stamp series was released by the Philpost which featured facsimiles of Philippine heroes and revolutionaries, the evolution of the Philippine Flag, historical structures and events, and the Centennial logo and slogan.71 The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas issued commemorative currency72 notes with the new design series of 100-piso with the Centennial logo, and 100,000-piso featuring the Sigaw ng Himagsikan and the Proclamation of Philippine Independence, 500-piso coins in observance of the centennial of the martyrdom of Rizal, the centennial anniversary of Andres Bonifacio and Emilio E. A. Aguinaldo, all legal tender. The 100,000-piso Centennial commemorative note was specially designed and made larger than a circulation note, later landing in the 1998 Guinness Book as the largest banknote ever issued.

Together with the commemorative items from BSP and Philpost, the Commission developed memorabilia merchandise, including Rizaliana, Philippine flags and flaglets, caps, shirts, pins, pennants, and literature and publications intended to spread awareness and increase interest. A separate inventory was sold to raise revenue for the restoration of Centennial Freedom Trail sites. The Commission also set aside inventory for distribution to government agencies and institutions—including overseas posts and offices of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Labor and Employment, Trade and Industry—and to members of the Philippine Centennial Movement worldwide chapters.

In the absence of an official set of guidelines and standards on Philippine heraldic items and devices such as the flag, national anthem, motto and coat-of-arms, much deliberation focused on the icons of national identity. In line with this, the National Historical Institute73 (NHI) worked on formulating an exhaustive and detailed set of precepts, particulars, and provisions on these heraldic items and devices, following instructions from President Ramos. Multi-sectoral consultations were conducted to improve and enrich the working document, and the final draft was submitted to the President and to both Houses of Congress for further deliberation and discussion. The collaborative effort resulted in the passing of Republic Act No. 8491, which established specifications, standards, rules, and guidelines on the design, hoisting, and display of the Philippine flag, the proper conduct of flag raising ceremony, the words of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, the declaration of flag days,74 the specifications of the flag,75 and acts prohibited with regard to the handling, display, and use of the flag. The Act likewise established the entire protocol of the Philippine National Anthem entitled Lupang Hinirang: to  be played or sung in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe; its official lyrics and manner with which it should be performed or sung—with much fervor; and instances or events when and where it should be played. The words of the National Motto,76 the elements of the Coat-of-Arms,77 and the Great Seal (which remain in the custody of the President of the Philippines) completed the dictates of the Act. The NHI was the agency designated to ensure the enforcement of the Act’s provisions.

Located at the area of the Gallery of Heroes (Binhi ng Kalayaan) at Rizal Park is a time capsule buried underground. The capsule — a gesture for posterity — contains certified true copies and first editions of all important National Centennial Commission documents (including declassified reports to the President and a forty-two volume Report to the Filipino People) literature and publications, Presidential issuances and acts of Philippine Congress, commemorative items and memorabilia, photos and videos, news reports and articles. A plaque now marks the spot where the time capsule is situated.

Early morning of 12 June 1998, an immense crowd gathered at the plaza directly across the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite to witness the reenactment of the historic moment when the Philippines proclaimed its independence from Spain and claimed its sovereignty as a nation.78 From the second floor balcony of the grand hall, as the Centennial President waved the Philippine flag in homage to the exceptional virtues of the revolutionaries that won the country’s freedom, a grateful nation responded in unison—church bells tolled, ships’ horns blared, 21-gun salutes and canons fired from the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and military and police camps. In an earlier speech, President Ramos reflected on the nation’s journey.

This is a glorious period in our history. In celebration, millions of Philippine flags wave proudly in offices, schools, homes, vehicles, roads and bridges, and at the mast of every ship sailing our native seas.

As nationalism takes center stage in our commemoration, so have we focused our attention on how we can proclaim before the world our sovereignty as a nation and as a people. Perhaps this is the finest tribute we can offer on this occasion: to stand out in our part of the world as a people capable of charting our own destiny in accordance with the principles and institutions associated with democracy. Inspired by the sacrifices of our heroes and fortified by their values, we of the present generation are courageously facing the future, confident that we, too, will win our own battles and triumph over whatever challenges destiny may throw at us.      

To whoever may ask what exactly it is we celebrate today, we have this to say: We Filipinos are rejoicing in our coming of age—in the final proof of our ability to understand, to use and to protect the liberty our heroes won for us a century ago. Today we mark a hundred years of learning what it takes to  rise from a diverse mix of language-groups, islands and regions into a self-conscious unity—into what Rizal called “one Filipino nation”—ang sambayanang Pilipino. Today we are grown into the responsibility—and the glory—of nationhood. We are prepared to account for ourselves in the global community. We have begun to make our own history.      

This Centennial celebration is an exhilarating popular event. But it is much more than a spectacle. We have arrived at where we are as a consequence of our collective will—as the fruit of our common resolve—to transcend our differences and to create and enlarge that common space within which all of us can work and build a modern nation. We need to remind ourselves—that no matter how carefree, how exuberant the Filipino is reputed to be—we have also been a rational, resolute and steady-handed people—driven as much by ideas as by passion—guided as much by the lamp of reason as by the fire of emotion.

Our rebellions arose not simply out of blind anger or impatience, but out of the conviction—as Emilio Aguinaldo believed—that freedom, justice and equality are our birthrights. And just as we have found the courage to wage war, so have we also found the wisdom to secure peace. My friends—today we gather under the skies of peace, liberty and hope. We can consider ourselves fortunate to have been spared the worst of the economic and political turmoil that has swept many of our neighbors. And we have just completed what have been reasonably honest, orderly and peaceful elections. But again, more than fortune, it was our foresight and resolve that brought us to this moment. As Rizal himself observed in “The Philippines a Century Hence,” “It is not well to trust to accident, for there is sometimes an imperceptible and incomprehensible logic in the workings of history.      

We have arrived at this juncture in our history by the logic of democracy and development—by the natural desire of people to be free and to prosper—in the face of which all forms of tyranny and exploitation must ultimately surrender. There is wisdom in the belief that history must be optimistic and that it must admit of positive change, or else it will serve little useful purpose. Yes, history must serve as a manual of moral instruction for both leaders and people—a guide to the formation of the national character. My own reading of it comes closer to an acceptance that history is “a race between education and catastrophe.” This is a definition that bears hope—hope in our ability and capacity to improve as a community, from one generation to another.      

This is certainly what I hope I have achieved during my Presidency. By liberalizing the economy, I hope I have infused the nation’s lifeblood with the surge of energy it needs to meet the challenges of the new century. Our Social Reform Agenda was launched to alleviate mass poverty; to ensure that the fruits of development can take place in a democracy, and that the empowerment of the people leads to sustained economic growth and social progress. All these are reasons enough for us to celebrate. There is a good feeling in the      entire country and a pervading sense that things will work out for the best. Let our remembrance of the past, therefore, guide us in confronting the challenges of the future.    

Today our country calls us, not to die but to live for it. The patriotism borne of revolution and war must give way to citizenship for peace and development, which means personal commitment, social obligation, civic responsibility. If each of us pulled his or her weight, then we as a nation can be bound together not only by the common memory of our past sufferings but by the progress we can enjoy together. As leaders of our country and as its loyal sons and daughters, such is the pledge we must renew on this the 100th year of the Philippine revolution of 1896 and of Rizal’s martyrdom.

In the solemnity of this chamber—keenly aware of the tasks laid upon our hands by our people and by our fundamental charter—let us seize this chance to give flesh and realization to our national beliefs and aspirations. On this the dawning of our centennial of Philippine independence, if there is one paramount achievement to which we Filipinos must dedicate ourselves, it is this—that by 1998, we Filipinos must show and prove to the world that we are finally a nation united. Sa madaling salita: Sa taong sanlibo siyam na raan at siyamnapu’t walo (1998), taas-noo ang Pilipino na haharap sa buong mundo!    

So, in this work we are to begin anew today, let us ask for God’s guidance and support—so we can win the new challenges of peace and development.    

President Fidel V. Ramos      
Fifth State of the Nation Address    
Batasang Pambansa    
22 July 1996

The Ramos presidency coincided with the years leading to 12 June 1998, the Centennial of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence (the celebration’s official name). As soon as he was installed as Head of State, President Ramos began sounding the celebratory notes that would mark the passage of a century. The commemoration of the birth of Asia’s first republic after a war for independence was to be the unique responsibility and privilege of the “Centennial President.” He understood the event as a signal moment to renew Filipino pride and self-respect, and for shoring up collective confidence as a hopeful nation. As he considered the tasks and challenges his administration faced at the outset—and determined to cap his term with a flourish appropriate to the centennial event—President Ramos shaped his governance modus in terms of the momentum of nation building. He visualized his hoped-for revitalized Philippine society, possessed of a clear sense of collective identity, through the lens of the once-in-a-lifetime event. The ambition of Philippines 2000 for the country to be globally regarded as an Asian Tiger Cub set in motion a battery of projects that buttressed the public image of a country at the cusp of sustained economic growth.

The Centennial President waving the Philippine Flag at the Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite, 12 June 1998.
An immense crowd gathered at the plaza directly across the Aguinaldo Shrine to witness the reenactment of the historic moment when the Philippines proclaimed its independence from Spain and its sovereignty as a nation.
Ramos family archives

The Philippine Centennial Freedom Trail map, plotting significant events and places of the Philippine Revolution.
The Centennial Freedom Trail Sites are located throughout the country from the northern Luzon Cordilleras to Mindanao.
Ramos family archives

First Hoisting of Philippine Flag in Victory at Alapan, Imus, Cavite, 28 May 1998.  
L-R: NCC Vice Chairperson Cesar E. A. Virata, NCC Chairman Salvador H. Laurel, President Fidel V. Ramos. President Fidel V. Ramos together with officials of the National Centennial Commission hoist the Philippine Flag at Alapan, Imus, Cavite where revolutionaries first declared victory
over the Spaniards. 
Ramos family archives
National Museum of Fine Arts, present day.
The eve of 12 June 1998 marked the symbolic rebirth of the National Museum —the National Museum of the Filipino People — renamed the National Museum of Fine Arts. The National Museum Complex is a signal achievement of President Ramos who dedicated the imposing structure to his vision of a proud and honorable nation born from a revolution for sovereignty.
Ramos family archives

Rizal Monument in Spain,
a replica of the Rizal monument at the Luneta (Rizal Park).
The Rizal Monument at the junction of Avenida de las Islas Filipinas and Calle Santander, Madrid, Spain was
a gift of the Philippine Government to the Spanish Government and was installed on 30 December 1996
to commemorate the centennial of
the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal.
Photo credit: Carlo Formoso-Capinpuyan

Kalayaan, Kayamanan ng Bayan.
The Centennial President understood the event as a signal moment to shore up collective confidence as a hopeful nation, and reawaken the true Filipino spirit and pride in the Filipino identity—a revolution towards national transformation.
Ramos family archives

Asia's Tiger Cub

The Philippines was, for a period of time, considered the “Sick Man of Asia” as it struggled to recover from the damage wrought by the excesses of the Marcos regime. While most ASEAN neighbors were registering high growth rates and robust development, the country’s output was almost nil, even contracting in 1991. Growth figures dimmed for the country as inflation and interest rates were at double-digit levels and per capita income growth was sluggish. These, coupled with precariously low domestic savings, high public debt stock, and record profit loss of public corporations from prolonged subsidies in basic sectors, discouraged investments. A fractured political landscape, crippling power shortage, destruction from natural disasters, criminality, and poverty were some of the challenges that welcomed President Ramos when he assumed office in 1992. A fresh start, it was thought in leadership circles then, would arrest the decline of the economy and the national spirit. Sweeping reforms were needed to nurse the economy back to health and propel it to growth.

Philippines 2000, the strategic framework on which the Ramos administration built its pillars of economic prosperity, social equity, and political stability, envisioned the country entering the 21st century among the ranks of the newly industrializing countries. Its vision guided the formulation of reforms and measures for effective governance, sustainable development to improve the quality of life for every Filipino, and enhance global competitiveness.

President Ramos articulated with clarity this long-term vision and the purpose of the broad reform agenda required to realize this. The “stabilize, privatize and liberalize” doctrine of the Washington Consensus,79 a doctrine applied by many reform-oriented developing countries at that time, guided the agenda’s formulation within the Philippine context. Beyond achieving macroeconomic stability, economic liberalization measures (like trade and investment liberalization, privatization of industries, the timely dismantling of monopolies and cartels) secured a business environment that encouraged competition and competitiveness. Institutional reforms involving tax and customs administration, the government bureaucracy, and the judiciary were implemented for transparency, accountability, and to maximal revenue streams. The party system and the electoral process submitted to political reforms and revisions for efficient local governance; and the Social Reform Agenda, the government’s anti-poverty revolution, spread across the archipelago, even to its farthest points. All of these comprised the interconnected measures that gained popular consensus and support as early victories and encouraging results proved their viability.

President Ramos needed allies in Congress to provide strong legislative support to see his agenda through. His efforts at building a coalition succeeded with over 200 laws passed, mostly on reform and restructuring. This alliance was further strengthened with the creation of LEDAC, which established a platform for consensus building between the Executive and Legislative to align policies and the congressional agenda with the executive’s for prudent resource allocation and improve the overall efficiency of government.

Immediate measures restoring peace and order were found in legislation and presidential actions on curbing criminality and addressing insurgency. In his first year in office, President Ramos signed Presidential Proclamation No. 10, granting amnesty to 4,500 rebels from the communist party and the MNLF, and former soldiers. Peace talks with the MNLF were actively pursued, culminating with the signing of a peace pact in 1996.

Addressing the power crisis, which at its height practically paralyzed the economy with daily brownouts lasting from eight to twelve hours, required President Ramos to act with dispatch. Existing procurement regulations prohibited government from building new power generating capacity, so Congress enacted the Electric Power Crisis Act, which authorized negotiated contracts for power plants. The Build-Operate-Transfer Law was amended to allow independent power producers to operate as well. By December 1993, twenty power plants were generating 770 MW, ending the power crisis altogether.

Fiscal responsibility demanded equal attention as well. The government’s budget deficit was depriving social services of allocations, so it needed to be reduced. In response, President Ramos made improvements on the macroeconomic structure of the fiscal accounts, including a Brady-type80 restructuring agreement with creditor banks. Prudent government spending and tax reform measures, including the expansion of VAT, increased excise tax on cigarettes, and the establishment of a BIR unit for large taxpayers, initially raised tax revenues from 13.3% in 1992 to 15.2% in 1993. Consolidated public sector deficit posted a surplus in 1996, and by 1997 Congress finally approved legislation on a comprehensive tax reform, including sanctions for tax evasion and a reduction of tax exemptions.

Following the full deregulation of the foreign exchange market in 1992, President Ramos’ monetary policy reforms resuscitated the Philippine Central Bank from near bankruptcy due to liabilities and flawed monetary and exchange rate policies. The enactment of the New Central Bank Act of 1994 created the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), an independent monetary authority with tenured members in its Monetary Board. With price stability as its major goal, and inflation targeting as its monetary policy rule, the BSP reduced the country’s inflation rate to a single digit—from 18.7% in 1991 to 4.6% in 1997—and maintained it at this level, exogenous shocks notwithstanding. President Ramos replaced the flawed exchange rate systems, which failed to prevent an exchange-rate collapse, by adopting a flexible exchange rate system that used major foreign currencies in the foreign exchange markets to determine the peso’s value and strength.

Macroeconomic stability, an averted power crisis, and the continued peace and unification process proved President Ramos’ determination and capacity to get things done, the results of which gained the support of stakeholders for more reform measures.

The introduction of economic liberalization measures, and the evident success at privatization, liberalization and deregulation all enhanced market efficiency. The private sector was allowed to invest in public sector services (power, water, infrastructure, banking, petroleum, and telecommunications) breaking up several monopolies and cartels that limited consumer choices, obstructed improvements in public service sectors, and constricted sector growth. In the case of telecommunications, nine major players invested with more companies signifying their intent to set up in the Philippines. This development improved the national telephone density from seventy-nine persons per telephone line in 1992 to nineteen per line as of June 1997, or a 450% increase. Affordable mobile phones were introduced in the market and fiber optic lines were installed to accommodate the surge in internet service providers and subscribers. Inter-island shipping companies offered more new routes with increased frequency provided by 556 new vessels that were added to the domestic fleet. The civil aviation sector welcomed more airline companies offering more flights and routes, providing better service and lower fares.

Renewed investor confidence saw higher investment approvals in 1996 of some P490 billion, an increase by 20.2% over investments generated in 1995. The President’s much-criticized foreign trips generated an estimated USD 21 billion worth of investments from thirty-six countries, apart from their other benefits to Philippine foreign relations. Evidence of economic resurgence spurred activities in the real property sector, characterized by a construction boom, with five star hotels, resorts, mixed-use development, and residential complexes being built throughout the country. Apart from the former American military bases at Subic and Clark which transformed into trade and industrial hubs, special economic and industrial zones were established in other locations to absorb more foreign investments and overseas Filipino workers returning to invest their savings in viable business ventures.

Revenue from various streams, including the privatization of government -owned assets and investments, generated funds to bankroll social services and human development programs under President Ramos’ Social Reform Agenda  (SRA). The agenda represented the needs and aspiration of sectors often overlooked—farmers and landless rural workers, fisher-people, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, small entrepreneurs and overseas workers, women, students, children and the youth, the handicapped, the elderly, and the victims of disasters and calamities—and redirected government policies to act on practical and effective solutions.  Private sector participation helped streamline the process of identifying and delivering meaningful social development programs, including access to basic needs—health, nutrition, water and sanitation, income security, shelter, peace and order, basic education and political participation.

A robust environment for private sector development aided the economy in effectively reducing poverty incidence, and achieving desired growth with low inflation and a strong currency. The economy, primed and gearing for openness and integration in the world economy, was backed by a stable regulatory framework and sound trade liberalization measures. But for the country to catch up with its ASEAN neighbors and succeed in the global market, comprehensive policy reforms were needed to promote innovation and enhance industry competitiveness.

Responding to the private sector’s request, the government reviewed the tariff structure through the lens of advancing competitiveness to determine the possible lowering tariffs on capital goods and raw materials. This resulted in the issuance and adoption of a series of major trade reforms that reduced, restructured, or lowered duties and tariffs on specific inputs, products, and equipment. These reforms were complemented by liberalization and deregulation policies in the areas of investments, foreign exchange, and services. Imported inputs, capital equipment, parts, and components were easily accessible to local companies due to import liberalization and tariff reduction. With the exception of rice, most quantitative restrictions were eventually lifted.

Equally vital was the liberalization of financial and capital markets to secure and support advancements in trade liberalization. This allowed the entry of foreign commercial banks and foreign insurance companies as a safety net for trade-related risks and unpredictability. The two bourses of the Philippine stock market were merged to harmonize transactions and eliminate arbitrage. With these calculated modifications and responsive and streamlined interventions in trade, securities, and national currencies, the country’s economy was further integrated into the global market.

President Ramos’ efforts to raise agricultural productivity focused on providing access to technology and modern inputs, and in accelerating rural infrastructure development. The Land Lease Law (Republic Act 7652), which allowed foreign investors to lease agricultural land for up to seventy-five years, subsidized investments in the non-agricultural industry and services sector. The Foreign Investment Negative List81 was modified to expand the industry areas that allowed one hundred percent foreign participation. Subsequently, the Senate ratified the accession to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agreement or MIGA.82

The Philippines actively engaged with the global community, establishing its presence as a dynamic and vital member of international and regional organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The Philippines’ membership to the WTO in January 1995, ratified by the Senate the previous year, provided opportunities for the growth and expansion of Philippine products and services, and for a wider market for trade. Furthermore, based on the Most Favored Nation (MFN) Principle,83 the Philippines and other members were granted access to tariff privileges forged through trade agreements to which members were not party. This leveled and expanded the playing field particularly for developing economies like the Philippines.

On the regional front, the country’s long-standing membership to the ASEAN, and its logical assent of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), allowed the Philippines to benefit from AFTA’s Comprehensive Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme,84 which set tariffs on imports within AFTA between zero to five percent, save for those in the temporary exclusion list.

As one of the founding member economies of the APEC,85 the Philippines’ participation aided in stimulating and improving the competitiveness of its domestic market and actors. Exchanges of best practices on trade and investment liberalization guided the country in formulating its own strategies to prepare for openness and competitiveness. Economic and technical cooperation enhanced knowledge and skills, and industry expansion and growth (upgrading facilities and acquiring new technologies), and human resource development. During the gathering in Bogor, Indonesia in 1994, “[APEC Leaders] committed to achieve free and open trade and investment by 2010 for industrialized economies and by 2020 for developing economies. APEC members agreed to pursue this goal by further reducing barriers to trade and investment and by promoting the free flow of goods, services and capital.” The adoption of these targets, known as the Bogor Goals, is considered one of APEC’s flagship initiatives. During the same meeting, the Philippines moved to establish the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), to be composed of the private sector, to provide perspective and insights towards achieving the Bogor Goals. Ambassador Roberto Romulo of the Philippines was named ABAC’s founding chairman, and the first ABAC meeting and dialogue with APEC leaders was held in 1996, when the Philippines first chaired APEC.

The international community observed and responded positively to the succession of reform measures that harnessed the Philippines’ growth potential, yielding favorable social and economic outcomes. The impact of substantial and deliberate initiatives to restore the economy back to the path of growth triggered a remarkable transformation from being the “Sick Man of Asia” to an economic powerhouse. In the mid-1990s, the global collective readily acknowledged the emergence of the Philippines as Asia’s Tiger Cub economy. The broad reform agenda built a robust economy on track towards inclusive growth, brought the country within reach of newly industrializing economy status, and set for an investment-grade rating towards the end of President Ramos’ six-year term in office.

In his sixth and valedictory State of the Nation Address delivered on 28 July 1997, President Ramos examined the performance of his administration on the evidence of economic and social indicators, the testimony of the experts, and the verdict of ordinary people. All indicators of development demonstrated that the incidence of poverty in the Philippines was on a steady decline, from 40% in 1991 to 31.8% in 1997. Favorable reviews from expert circles included the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) statement that the country’s macroeconomic situation was “very sound,” save for the lack of a few but critical components in the legislative program, specifically the completion of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package urgently needed to release the Philippines from the ambit of the IMF. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the exclusive club of twenty-nine affluent countries, extended an invitation to the Philippines to regularly participate in the group’s dialogue with the so-called Dynamic Non-Member Economies. A survey by the Far Eastern Economic Review among top executives in ten Asian countries raised the expectation that the Philippines will be the third best-performing East Asian Economy in East Asia in 1997, after China and Malaysia. And, over the next twelve months, from August 1997 to July 1998, major international rating agencies were expected to upgrade the Philippines to investment grade.

However, the ultimate measure of how well government works is based on the ordinary people’s judgment of how government’s actions have affected their daily lives. A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations on whether or not Filipinos benefited personally from the programs of the Ramos administration resulted in two-thirds or sixty-five percent of Filipinos stating that they benefited personally from the Ramos administration’s policies. The significance of these findings is three-fold. First, a clear majority of Filipinos felt they benefited from the administration’s programs. Second, for a substantial number of the citizenry, the scale of benefits was large. Third, all areas of the country and all social classes benefited more or less in a measurable way.

I would say this: The best thing we did has not merely been to restore the economy to the path of growth. I would say our greatest accomplishment has been to bring back the Filipino’s sense of self-respect and pride; of faith in ourselves and of confidence in the future….Together, we have labored hard and unceasingly to restore our nation to stability, growth, equity, and optimism, and for this, the present and future generations will be grateful. When that graduation day comes, we will have the honor to hand over to our successors, to the 13th President, in my case, and to the Eleventh Congress, in yours, a new kind of Philippines that our heroes of the centennial period envisioned—a Philippines that will endure through the new century dawning upon us; a Philippines where our people, under God, can live together in freedom, dignity, and prosperity, at peace with themselves and with all mankind.

President Fidel V. Ramos
Sixth State of the Nation Address  
Batasang Pambansa    
28 July 1997

The Philippines, a key driver within
the ASEAN and APEC.
President Ramos maximized Philippine membership
to APEC and ASEAN which provided avenues for the country
to engage national and regional economies for
trade and investments, regional security, information,
science and technology, health and education.
Ramos family archives

Sick Man of Asia no more.
In the mid-1990s, the global collective readily acknowledged the emergence of the Philippines as Asia’s Tiger Cub economy, delivering the country within reach of newly industrializing economy status towards the end of
President Ramos’ six-year term in office.
Ramos family archives

A climate of competitiveness.
The private sector was allowed to invest in public sector services – 
power, water, infrastructure, banking, petroleum, and telecommunications –
breaking up several monopolies and cartels that limited consumer choices, obstructed improvements in public service sectors, and constricted sector growth.
Ramos family archives
The Metro Manila Skyway (Skyway), an elevated highway and main expressway in Metro Manila.
The first fully grade-separated highway in the Philippines and one of the longest elevated highways in the world, the formulation of the Skyway’s masterplan commenced in 1993 and the construction of Stage 1 (Magallanes to Alabang) began on 28 November 1995 during the term of President Ramos. 
Ramos family archives
President Ramos inspects the Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant, Ormoc City, Kananga, Leyte. 
Under the Electric Power Crisis Act, more than twenty power plants were constructed and established a year into the Ramos presidency, eliminating power outages by December 1993, and delivering on the President’s promise for a bright Christmas.
Ramos family archives
The success of economic liberalization measures.
Beyond achieving macroeconomic stability, economic liberalization measures – trade and investment liberalization, privatization of industries, the timely dismantling of monopolies and cartels – secured a business environment that encouraged
competition and competitiveness.
Ramos family archives

Unity, Solidarity, Teamwork.
President Ramos conducted regional Cabinet meetings in the country’s underdeveloped provinces to engage local government participation in establishing consensus on initiatives to hasten countryside development.

Ramos family archive

President Ramos inspects the Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant, Ormoc City, Kananga, Leyte.
Under the Electric Power Crisis Act, more than twenty power plants were constructed and established a year into the Ramos presidency, eliminating power outages by December 1993, and delivering on the President’s promise for a bright Christmas.

Ramos family archives

66 President Ramos mobilized nearly his entire Cabinet in the preparations for the Centennial. Sitting in the National Centennial Commission were the Secretaries of the Departments of Education, Culture and Sports, National Defense, the Interior and Local Government, Tourism, Trade and Industry, Public Works and Highways, Transportation and Communications, Budget and Management, the Press Secretary, the Executive Director of the National Historical Institute, and three representatives from the National Commission for Culture and Arts. Included as well were two representatives each from the Senate and the House of Representatives; and, two representatives from the Judiciary. Completing the roster were three representatives from the Philippine Centennial Foundation and from the private sector: business, media, youth, women, labor, minorities and other non-government organizations. Representatives of representatives from the three branches of government also composed the Commission.
67 The standardization thrust included the cadence of the Philippine National Anthem, design and use of heraldic items or devices of the Philippines, protocols for wearing the national costume or attire during Monday flag raising ceremonies, and the exact colors of the Philippine flag.
68 The slogan of the Centennial of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence—Kalayaan  Kayamanan ng Bayan—loosely translated to Freedom is the Wealth of a Nation.
69 “Libingan ng mga Bayani Gateway Marker,” PROS,  
70 Ralf G. Roldan and Raisa A. Mabayo, “Jose Rizal in Present-Day Madrid,” Embassy of the Philippines Madrid, Spain,; Department of Foreign Affairs,é-rizal-in-present-day-madrid  
71 “Philippine Declaration of Independence 12 June 1898, Anniversary,” Topical Philippines, .
72 “Coins And Notes - Commemorative Currency,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,
73 The NHI is now the National Historical Commission.
74 National Flag Days start on 28 May (Battle of Alapan, where the Philippine Flag was first raised) and culminate on 12 June, Philippine Independence Day.
75 Public schools, government buildings, and offices hoisted new Philippine flags with the correct specifications.
76 “Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa”
77 Paleways of two pieces, azure and gules; a chief argent studded with three mullets equidistant from each other; and, in point of honor, ovoid argent over all the sun rayonnant with eight minor lesser rays. Beneath shall be the scroll with the words “Republika ng Pilipinas” inscribed thereon.
78 “On June 12, between four and five in the afternoon, Aguinaldo, in the presence of a huge crowd, proclaimed the independence of the Philippines at Cavite el Viejo (Kawit). For the first time, the Philippine National Flag, made in Hongkong by Mrs. Marcela Agoncillo, assisted by Lorenza Agoncillo and Delfina Herboza, was officially hoisted and the Philippine National March played in public. The Act of the Declaration of Independence was prepared by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, who also read it. A passage in the Declaration reminds one of another passage in the American Declaration of Independence. The Philippine Declaration was signed by ninety-eight persons, among them an American army officer who witnessed the proclamation. The proclamation of Philippine independence was, however, promulgated on August 1 when many towns were already organized under the rules laid down by the Dictatorial Government.” From Teodoro A. Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People (Quezon City: Garotech Publishing, 1990).
79 Moises Naim, “Fads and Fashion in Economic Reforms: Washington Consensus or Washington Confusion?” International Monetary Fund, .
80 The Brady Plan was a program of debt reduction partially financed by official institutions to allow highly indebted countries to repurchase debt at a discount. Debt reductions have taken place under the Brady Plan for almost all of the highly indebted nations. The Philippines transaction involves swapping collateralized debt–the Brady bonds, whose principal is backed by US Treasuries–for non-collateralized bonds–the Eurobonds. Since the principal component of the Brady bonds was collateralized by US Treasury bonds, they were less exposed to the sovereign risk generally associated with loans to the Philippines. It follows that the Eurobonds the Philippines would be issuing in exchange for the old Brady bonds would bear greater sovereign risk exposure.
81 An Executive Order that contains a list of business fields that are fully, partially, and totally closed to investments from foreign entities.
82 MIGA, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, is an international agency established to promote large scale high-risk foreign investment projects in developing countries. MIGA is a part of the World Bank Group with 25 industrialized and 157 developing countries as its members as of May 2020.
83 A bedrock principle of the WTO, the Most Favored Nation (MFN) principle requires WTO members to accord the most favorable tariff and regulatory treatment to the product of any one member at the time of import or export of “like products” to all other members. In international economic relations and international politics, most favored nation is a status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade.
84 The Comprehensive Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme was replaced by the ASEAN Trade In Goods Agreement of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).The AEC is the realisation of the region’s end goal of economic integration. It envisions ASEAN as a single market and production base, a highly competitive region with equitable economic development, and fully integrated into the global economy. Once AEC is realised, ASEAN will be characterized by the free movement of goods, services, and investments, as well as the freer flow of capital and skills. With harmonised trade and investment laws, ASEAN, as a rules-based organisation, will be strengthened and become more interesting as a single investment destination.
85 APEC, or the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, was established in 1989 by twelve economies (including the Philippines) and became a non-binding and voluntary forum where trade, investment, and economic cooperation issues are discussed. Since its establishment, APEC now has 21 member-economies. APEC operates on the basis of non-binding commitments and open dialogue. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis. APEC works towards economic growth and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region through regional economic cooperation to achieve the APEC Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment. To achieve trade and investment liberalization and facilitation objectives, APEC focuses its work on three pillars: (1) trade and investment liberalization; (2) trade and investment facilitation; and (3) economic and technical cooperation (ECOTECH). Its 21 member economies are home to around 2.8 billion people and represent approximately 59 per cent of world GDP and 49 per cent of world trade in 2015.