Iloilo City Charter Day

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Iloilo City Charter Day

Iloilo City was formally inaugurated on August 25, 1935 as a chartered city.

‘Charter’ defined, “is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified.” To continue on with the definition, “It is implicit that the granter retains superiority or sovereignty, and that the recipient admits a limited (or inferior) status within the relationship, and it is within that sense that charters were historically granted, and that sense is retained in modern usage of the term.”

Decades ago, on August 25, 1937, Iloilo City was inaugurated. The ‘Iloilo Charter Day’ came to be when Iloilo received its charter during the American Commonwealth Government in the Philippines. This, after surrounding towns such as La Paz, Mandurriao, Molo, and Arevalo were merged with the progressive town of Iloilo on July 16, 1937 by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 158.

Inauguration of Iloilo City

A Spanish settlement in 1566, Spaniards established a colony between the towns of Ogtong (present day Oton) and La Villa Rica de Arevalo. It was the second Spanish colonial center after Cebu. Iloilo was established as a city three times: first was through a royal decree issued by the Queen Regent of Spain, Maria Cristina in 1889; second, through a legal declaration by virtue of the Becerra Law in 1889; and third, inauguration of Iloilo as a chartered city in 1937. Via Commonwealth Act No. 158, the towns of Arevalo, Mandurriao, Molo, and La Paz were consolidated. The City of Jaro, meanwhile, was annexed in 1941 via Commonwealth Act No. 604 in 1940.

The inauguration of Iloilo as a chartered city was a momentous event that was celebrated with a parade that commenced from the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, now Casa Real, to the newly constructed Iloilo City Hall of that time. The route was from Bonifacio Drive through Iznart St and JM Basa St., to Plaza Libertad, through Rizal St, Mabini St., and finally ending in front of the then Iloilo City Hall.

Four divisions graced the parade with the first division with lead flags, American and Filipino colors, followed by the Grand Marshall, band, military, police, veterans, and the media. The activities in the 1937 inauguration include ‘diana de las bandas de musica’ – showcase of musical bands, ‘salvas de morteretes’ – salvo of cannons, games and sports at the city hall, serenades, and ‘fuego artificiales’ – fireworks. The Provincial Governor that graced the event during the time was Timoteo Consing – together with then-Mayor Ramon J. Campos. A feast was also held in honor of Vice President Sergio Osmeña and Secretary of Interiors Elpidio Quirino.

21st Century Iloilo Charter Day

Now on its 85th year (2022), the Iloilo Charter Day is celebrated every 25th of August and is usually declared as a special non-working day. Prior to the pandemic, the celebration includes a parade from different offices of the local government, national government and non-government agencies, and even private sectors and usually culminates at the Iloilo City Hall grounds.

The Iloilo Charter Day was toned down for a few years following the pandemic, but the local government is eyeing for a normal celebration in the coming years. For this year, the special non-working holiday will revolve around the theme, “Forging Stronger Ties in the Community”.

“There will be no big Mayor’s Ball but a simple dinner to recognize the top taxpayers in the city because we appreciate the help even amidst the pandemic, our operations continued without major disruptions,” Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on this year’s (2022) Iloilo Charter Day celebration.

Activities for this year’s celebration will include the following: cleanup, tree planting, sports tournament, urban gardening, tax campaign, fun run, business forums and expo, job fair, among others. 

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