Manuel Roxas, State of the Nation Address, June 12, 1946

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State of the Nation Address
by Manuel Roxas
5th President of the Philippines

[Delivered on June 12, 1946]

On this very spot 48 years ago our revolutionary armies declared our independence and proclaimed the Republic of the Philippines.  All the ties which bound our land to the Crown of Spain were severed and dissolved.

That Declaration of Independence, in language and spirit, stemmed directly from America’s own Declaration of Independence.  Our declaration affirmed the inalienable right of Filipinos to govern themselves and to be free.  It was a consummation of our age-old struggle for liberty and national individuality.  In this sense it was much more than a war measure against Spain.  It was the sculptured spirit of a whole people, exhibited for the first time to the world in all its simple grandeur.  Freedom!  Liberty!  Independence!  Those words, spoken by us in 1898, made the rulers of the Orient pause and listen.

The great heart of America heard.  Although our Revolution was short-lived in form, it achieved its purposes in substance.

That celebration on June 12, 1898, was held in the presence of American officers who, under Admiral Dewey, had participated in the sinking of the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay.  While these Americans looked on, our national flag was raised for the first time over our land, and the inspiring tune of our national anthem rang out over these historic acres.

We did not attain our full freedom then.  The United States, feeling a deep sense of responsibility for our enduring welfare, and an international obligation for our security, took upon herself the task of gradually training and preparing us for self-government.  Our forces valiantly resisted the forcible imposition of this strange benevolence.  We had no way of knowing that those professions of good intention were sincere.  Our resistance was overcome and we laid down our arms, but in the act of acquiescing to American rule, we accepted American protestations of good intentions.  We put our faith in the American declaration that she had come not as conqueror, but as liberator, not to exploit but to help us husband our resources and to develop them for the benefit of our countrymen.  We soon discovered that that faith was well placed.

We learned, and we may well profit today from that lesson, that freedom and progress may move in paths of peace even more surely than in paths of violence.  We learned that in a pattern of order and security, based on good faith and mutual confidence, peoples may move forward to their goals in irresistible strength, unmarred by force or hate.

At first our country was governed by Americans with the help of Filipinos, later, by Filipinos with the gradually diminishing intervention of Americans.  Today our government is practically in our own hands.  The intimate and unselfish collaboration between our two countries has no parallel in history and is the inspiration of subject peoples in many lands.  On the part of the United States, there was shown the purest altruism and disinterest, and on our part, undivided loyalty, and eagerness to learn and work for the attainment of common aims and purposes.

As we are about to reach the end of the road we have traveled under the guidance of the United States, and to attain the fulfillment of our aspirations, there is nothing in our hearts except gratitude to America and the abiding hope that she will continue to assist us in the trying days ahead.

Veterans of the Revolution! You are members of a glorious generation, now passing from the scene.  Your ranks are broken and your numbers are less by the heroes who are not with us today…Luna, Bonifacio, Del Pilar, Malvar, Jacinto, Quezon, Leyva and uncounted others who do not answer today’s roll call.  But our people will never forget them, nor you.  You have taught us to fight, to die for freedom.  You have proved to us that liberty is more precious than life itself.  You have shown us, by brilliant example, that it is the duty of those who survive the struggles of war to live for their country as valiantly and as courageously as those who die.  You have shown us the example of unstinted service and sacrifice for the nation’s good.

I pledge to you here and now that the torch of liberty you lighted 48 years ago will not go out during our time.  I pledge my own efforts to hold that flaming brand aloft with every fibre of my being.  The proud banner of liberty you unfurled here will fly proudly over your children and those who come after them.  We will maintain our freedom, we will maintain our national honor, we will maintain the institutions of democracy and our faith in God and in human dignity with the same perseverance and sacrifice that you showed and offered so many years ago.

We do not fear any nation.  We do not suspect any people of having designs against us.  We ask for assistance, from friends who are in a position to give assistance.  I do not look for evil purpose in the offer of assistance.  But we will resist, even as you resisted, with our lives and our treasures any assault against our institutions and our national independence.

In the name of the cause for which your comrades died and struggled, we pledge ourselves on this sacred soil, enriched now by the blood of two generations of soldiers of liberty, to carry on this noble work, so nobly begun.