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Revolutionary records

The Philippine Insurgent [Revolutionary] Records, 1896-1901, with associated Records of the United States War Department, 1900-1906

The Philippine Revolutionary Records (called the Philippine Insurgent Records or PIR by the Americans) is a collection of primary documentary evidence of the revolutionary activities of Filipinos in their struggle for independence.

The collection is composed of correspondence, papers of municipalities, memoranda, records of letters, sent and received, cablegrams sent and received, pamphlets, records of government, songs and poems of the Revolution, etc. covering the period 1892-1906.

Hostilities between the Philippines and the United States of America started in February 1899 in the town of San Juan, province of Morong, (later re-named Rizal) when an American soldier fired upon a Filipino patrol. In the full blown war that followed, the United States Army gathered, captured or seized  and collected documents found in Filipino soldiers, camps and / headquarters of the Philippine Revolutionary Army as well as documents with President Emilio Aguinaldo when he was captured in Palanan, Isabela during the Filipino-American War. These documents, in turn, were brought to the United States and deposited with various Offices until it was turned over to the United States National Archives. Capt. John R. Taylor, along with a small staff of clerks, was tasked with the selection, translation and organization of documents “considered to be of primary importance in telling the history of the Insurrection and of the insurgent government” and to prepare them for publication. As Taylor himself says, ...he was “directed … to go over them and select and translate such materials therein as would inform the War Department and through it, the Senate, of the real character and purposes of the [revolutionary] movement against the United States”. Five galley proofs were prepared and were ready for printing; however, authority to publish them was suppressed by William Howard Taft, at first, as Secretary of War and later, as President of the United States.

The negotiations for the return of the “insurgent” records to the Philippines was first proposed in 1916 and concluded in the 1950s. On February 11, 1957, Senator H. Alexander Smith reintroduced a bill (S1141) for the transfer of the records. The bill was passed by the [U.S.] Senate on June 6 and by the House of Representatives on July 1 and was approved by the U.S. President on 03 July 1957. The United States 85th Congress approved Public Law 85-81 [71 Stat. 276} authorizing  the transfer of these documents to the Philippine Government without compensation. Under the provisions of the act, the “Administrator of General Services was directed to transfer the captured insurgent records to the Government of the Philippine Republic. In addition, the act authorized the microfilming of the records for preservation in the National Archives of the United States before their return to the Islands”. On 20 June 1958, President Carlos P. Garcia, then on a state visit to the United States, received these documents in behalf of the Philippine Government. The 200,000 pieces of documents in nine crates arrived in the Philippines and were turned over to the Filipiniana Division of the Bureau of Public Libraries on 27 October 1958 where today, microfilm copies are made available to the public. The collection was renamed Philippine Revolutionary Records by Mrs. Maria Luisa C. Moral then Chief of the Filipiniana and Asia Division.

In line with the objective of Filipiniana.net to make documentary evidences on the Philippines' history and culture available for free through easy Internet access, Filipiniana.net presents this valuable collection as a micro site called The Virtual Philippine Revolutionary Records to researchers, scholars, historians, educators, students and individuals interested in learning more about the Philippines and its people's struggle to forge an independent nation thereby ensuring that today’s and succeeding generations of Filipinos are made aware of their forebears' heroism.

FilNet is digitizing and publishing important documents from the collection using John R. M. Taylor's Alphabetical Index to Selected Documents Contained in Folders 1-484 of the Philippine Insurgent Records, 1896-1900 in Microfilm (rolls 5-84) which was published by the Lopez Museum as The Philippine Insurrection Against the United States : A Compilation of Documents with Notes and Introduction, FilNet selects documents to be digitized, processed and published in its web site. [NOTE : The Taylor Alphabetical Index... was published by the National Library as Philippine Revolutionary Records on Microfilm, Part I and II].

Earmarked for inclusion in the selection are documents from Compilation of Insurgent Documents Pertaining to the Visayas Group, 1898-1902 as well as the Compilation of Philippine Insurgent Records : Telegraphic Correspondence of Emilio Aguinaldo, July 15, 1898 to February 28, 1899, Annotated. Together with the documents from the Taylor list, Filnet will upload documents chosen by Dr. Luis C. Dery, Editor of the micro site. The selection criteria are :

  1. the document represents the Filipino point of view; and

  2. the document presents the view from the bottom.

As further service to its readers, each document in the collection comes with an executive summary and end notes. The document is fully indexed and hyperlinks link each document to sites in and outside FilNet for additional information. Key words and subject headings are provided and the location of each document in the microfilm copy is identified. Where the original document is available, it is published together with its translation, if any. The executive summary is given in the original language and its English translation.

Alternately called the Aguinaldo Papers, the Philippine Revolutionary Records is one collection that Philippine historians must use in their task to write, rewrite and / or re-interpret the history of the Filipino people, especially those events dealing on the Filipino Revolution against Spain and the Filipino-American War. A diligent and patient perusal and study of these documents will help clarify and shed light on controversial issues in Philippine history.

Taking the Filipino point of view, the micro site aims to undertake the following :

  1. Highlight the international significance of the Filipino Revolution against Spain and and that of the Filipino-American War;

  2. Select, reproduce and transcribe documents that promote Filipino national dignity and pride. Examples of such documents are the service records of Filipino heroes, their letters to their loved ones and poems and kundimans written about Filipino heroes and other writings;

  3. Select, produce and transcribe documents that give the history of Philippine symbols such as the Philippine National Flag, the National Anthem [March], the Armed Forces of the Philippines;

  4. Bring to the awareness of scholars, teachers and students the existence of documents that would shed light on blurry events and issues in Philippine History an example of which is the Trial and Death of Andres Bonifacio;

  5. Highlight Filipino victories, especially acts of surrender of the Spaniards and the Americans;

  6. Reproduce documents on the Katipunan, its founders, Kartilya, initiation rites;

  7. Prepare a publication program using the Philippine Revolutionary Records :

    a. Guide to the Philippine Revolutionary Records which will feature a roll by roll contents guide to help students, scholars and researchers in the use of the 643 rolls of the Philippine Revolutionary Records;

    b. Songs and poems of the Katipunan;

    c. Unsung heroes of the Revolution;.

By putting on-line heretofore unknown or inaccessible documents on the Philippine Revolution, FilNet believes that the The Virtual Philippine Revolutionary Records site will be of significant use and value to scholars, researchers, writers and media practitioners as well as students writing on the Filipinos' struggle to be a free nation.

Filipiniana.net is doing its share of presenting a true picture, and preserving the history and culture of the Philippines by researching, organizing and disseminating facts and documents heretofore known and available only to a few scholars.

We acknowledge the assistance of the National Library Staff specifically those of the Multi-Media Section (formerly the Microform Room) - - Ms. Dolores D. Carungui, Mrs. Isabella M. Bernabe and Mr. Timoteo V. Trias. in the printing of hard copies from the microfilm copy.

Filipiniana.net is a division of Vibal Publishing House, Inc., on whose shoulders rests partly the mother company’s broad commitment to social responsibility.