N. Ecija founding date April 25, not Sept. 2
CABANATUAN CITY—For years, Novo Ecijanos observed the province’s founding anniversary on Sept. 2, coinciding with the commemoration of the “Unang Sigaw ng Nueva Ecija (First Cry of Nueva Ecija)” in 1896 when revolutionaries rose in arms against the Spanish rule.
But, as a result of new findings, a research team has recommended the passing of a new law making April 25 “Kaarawan ng Nueva Ecija (Birth of Nueva Ecija).”
Sept. 2 was proclaimed the province’s founding anniversary through Republic Act No. 7596. It is a nonworking holiday for Novo Ecijanos.
Researchers of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the provincial government found that the province was actually established on April 25, 1801.
They found documents showing that in 1799 Spanish King Carlos IV ordered the separation of towns and parishes of Upper Pampanga, near the Sierra Madre range, as well as coastal towns of Tayabas, along the Pacific Ocean, into a corregimiento (administrative political-military unit), which became Nueva Ecija.
“[The Spanish king’s directives were] implemented on April 25, 1801, and the corregimiento was named Nueva Ecija after the hometown [in Spain] of [that period’s] Governor General Rafael Maria de Aguilar,” NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy said in a letter to Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali.
“Baler (now the provincial capital of Aurora) was declared its capital,” Badoy said.
It was believed that Nueva Ecija became a commandancia (outpost) in 1701 or 1702 but the exact date of its establishment as a province was not known before the research team bared its findings.
For this reason, the province’s founding anniversary was marked simultaneously with the commemoration of the local uprising against the Spanish rule on Sept. 2, 1896.
The research team examined documents at the National Library, NHCP, Baler Museum and Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies in Angeles City.
It was assisted by historian Efren Yambot, former Nueva Ecija Rep. Angel Concepcion, Antonio Concepcion, Raymund Umali and Governor Umali.
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