SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN APRIL
By The Kahimyang Project
1st of April 1955, a series of very strong earthquakes jolted all of Mindanao and the southern Visayas
On 1 April 1955, a series of very strong earthquakes beginning at 2:18 in the morning, with epicentre between Panguil Bay and Lake Lanao, rocked all of Mindanao, and the southern Visayas, with heavy damage done in Lanao and Occidental Misamis. Many lives were lost in the towns along the shore of Lake Lanao as the water receded and then returned.
The tremors reached up to intensity 8 using a Philippine adaptation of the Rossi-Forel scale with maximum intensity of 9.
President Ramon Magsaysay issued a proclamation declaring the existence of a state of public calamity in Misamis Oriental and Occidental, Lanao, and Surigao and in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Ozamis, Iligan, and Dansalan, and authorizing the Constabulary to seize hoarded goods and goods sold at profiteering prices.
The report of RRA on 6 April showed that the number of persons known killed were 225; injured, 898; number of houses destroyed, 2,997; number of families affected, 14,985; extent of disaster area, 382,737 hectares.
1st April 1989, Col. James Rowe was killed in an ambush in Quezon City
Colonel James Rowe
On 1st April 1989, Colonel James Rowe of the US Army was killed by hit squad ambush. He was the first serving US Army officer to be killed by a rebel group in the Philippines.
Rowe was being driven to work at the JUSMAG (Joint United States Military Advisory Group) headquarters in Quezon City shortly after 7 in the morning when gunmen fired more than 20 bullets into his vehicle.
He was pronounced dead at a nearby military hospital.
Philippine officials believed the killers were members of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Alex Boncayao Brigade, although no group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Earlier, the NPA have threatened to attack American targets unless the United States closes its military bases in the Philippines and end its support of the Philippine military’s fight against the insurgency.
Colonel James Rowe was 51. He is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, USA.
6 April 1828, the King of Spain issued a decree establishing a public bank in the Philippines
On 6 April 1828, King of Spain, Ferdinand VII, issued a decree establishing a public bank in the Philippines to meet the requirements of increasing commerce and trade in the islands.
Presently known as Bank of the Philippine Islands, it is originally called El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel 2 named after Queen Isabela II, the daughter of King Ferdinand VII.
The bank is first in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
The royal decree establishing the Banco Español Filipino also gave it the power to print Philippine currency.
The first time the Philippine peso was printed in the country were originally called pesos fuertes (PF), or “strong pesos”.
First printed on 1st May 1852, they were redeemable at face value for gold or silver Mexican coins. Before 1852, a multitude of currencies were used, most notably the Mexican peso.
Before the establishment of El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel 2, the functions of banks were performed, though on a limited scale, by the obras pias (Spanish for “pious works”).
Obras pias were an accumulation of bequests whose donors had specified that the funds be used for charitable, religious and educational purposes.
Some of the funds were managed by confraternities that invested capital in secular activities like underwriting cargoes for the galleon trade.
9 April General Edward King was forced to surrender to the Japanese
At dawn of 9 April 1942, Major General Edward P. King, commander of the Bataan forces, was forced to surrender together with his men when the Filipino and American soldiers could no longer defend the Bataan peninsula from the invasion of Japanese troops.
The surrendered Filipino-American forces were forced at gunpoint to march under the tropical hot sun from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga, and then taken by rail to Camp O’Donnel in Tarlac. Those who could not make it because of physical weakness were shot or bayoneted to death.
The event was indeed so inhuman that it was called the “Death March” and marked the beginning of total Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during the Second World War.
Despite the travails of defeat, most of the captured soldiers stood strong and heroes emerged from the event. The surrender was only temporary.
Eventually, American and Filipino liberation forces retook the Bataan peninsula on 8 February 1945.
The nation marks “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valour) on 9 April of every year to highlight the valour and heroism of the Filipino and American soldiers who fought in the Philippines during World War II.
Formerly called “Bataan Day” or “Fall of Bataan,” the celebration was changed to “Day of Valour” and made a national public holiday.
21 April 1899, the first Presbyterian Mission came to the Philippines
On 21 April 1899, the first Presbyterian Mission led by Reverend Dr. James B. Rodgers, arrived in the Philippines. Rodgers pioneered in evangelistic, educational, and ecumenical work, being instrumental in the founding of the Philippine Evangelical Union in 1901.
One year later, other sects, including the Episcopalians, Baptists, and Methodist, followed.
During the first 50 years, each mission group worked independently, building churches, schools, hospitals and social service centres.
In 1948, the Protestant denominations in the Philippines came together and formed the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) composed of the United Evangelical Church, the Philippine Methodist Church, the Evangelical Church of the Philippines, some congregations of the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Cristo, the Convention of the Churches of Christ (Disciples of Christ) of Northern Luzon, the Iglesia Evangelica Nacional and some congregations of the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista En Las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF).