National Heroes' Day
National Heroes' Day is a public holiday in the Philippines. It is celebrated every last Sunday of August to commemorate the deeds of Philippine heroes as well as to encourage the younger generation to emulate the character of those who have fought for and made the country proud. The holiday is also part of the commemoration of the Cry of Pugadlawin.
Celebration of National Heroes' Day
By virtue of Act No. 3827 of 1931, the last Sunday of August was declared a national holiday known as National Heroes' Day. This was done in order to give honor to other heroes who are not remembered with their own legal holidays as Jose Rizal is remembered every 30th of December and Andres Bonifacio every 30th of November. The principal proponents of this act were historians and legislators who believed that there is an unjust gap in the national memory because many of the other heroes were forgotten and their contributions to the country were unsung. August was chosen as the month for celebration based on the seminal events of August 1896 (Cry of Pugad Lawin and Battle of San Juan del Monte). Legislating a special holiday to recognize and remember heroes, both known and unknown would be an avenue for Filipinos to become enlightened on the richness of their heritage and thus encourage them to become better citizens and to live noble lives. <ref name=NHI>Celebrating National Heroes' Day in August, Ma. Cielito Reyno, Nhi.gov.ph, August 19, 2009</ref>
The Philippines has numerous heroes, from those who stood up against oppression against foreign invaders to those who fought against the dictatorship of a fellow citizen. There is no law that states how to proclaim any Filipino historical figure as a national hero. However, because of the significant roles that they held in the process of nation-building, some laws were enacted to honor the likes of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio.
Selection and Promotion of National Heroes
National Heroes Committee
Executive Order No. 75 , entitled “Creating the National Heroes Committee Under the Office of the President” was issued by President Fidel V. Ramos on March 28, 1993. The Committee's principal duty is to study, evaluate and recommend national personages for recognition of their achievements and contributions to the nation.
Criteria for National Heroes
National Heroes are to be recognized by the following criteria:
- They must aspire and work for the nation's freedom.
- They must contribute to a life of freedom and order of a nation through ways such as formulating laws and enacting them.
- Heroes should contribute to the quality of life and destiny of a nation.
- They should also be part of the people's expression and must think of the future generations.
National Heroes of the Philippines
On November 15, 1995, there were nine Filipino historical figures selected and recommended by the committee as National Heroes. They were Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Marcelo del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino and Gabriela Silang.
- “Celebrating National Heroes Day in August” Nhi.gov.ph (Accessed on 19 August 2009)
- “Heroes Day” Blog.rosedelivery.ph (Accessed on 19 August 2009)
- “National Heroes” Ncca.gov.ph (Accessed on 19 August 2009)