City Archives: Bacolod Charter Day is October 19
Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr. painstakingly culled a September 28, 1938 City Council Resolution signed by then Municipal Mayor Fernando Cuadra and the City Council expressly stating that “Bacolod as a Municipality is now converted to a City” and nowhere did said document mentioned about June 18 as the “birth of Bacolod City”.
Gamboa rather explained that the then Municipality of Bacolod shall now be considered a defunct Municipality and then into a City “only after the inauguration and installation of all city officials that will take place on October 5, 1938” as provided by said resolution approved in a Special Session of September 28, 1938.
He also explained however that due to the schedule availability of Pres. Manuel Quezon in coming to Bacolod and the bad weather condition at that time, October 5 was moved to October 19, 1938.
According to Gamboa, the September 28, 1938 Cuenca Resolution is consistent with Commonwealth Act 326 (The Charter of Bacolod as a City) which was approved on June 18, 1938 as stated in “Section 54, Effectivity” - This Act shall take effect upon its approval” – thus the desecrated contention that June 18 is the “birth of Bacolod City”.
He stressed that these people who are pushing for the transfer of the October 19 Bacolod Charter Day to June 18 failed to read further that Commonwealth Act 326 likewise expressly stated under its “Article VII Transitory Provisions” - which provides that Section 50 “Change of Government” read that “The City Government provided for in this Chapter shall be organized immediately AFTER the appointment and qualification of the City Mayor, and the appointment and induction into office of the members of the City Council, as herein provided, as thereafter as possible.
“So when was the first Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Montelibano, Sr. appointed, installed and inaugurated by no less than Pres. Quezon himself? It was in October 19, 1938 or otherwise ‘October 5, 1938’ as provided by the September 28, 1938 Cuadra resolution – only then, October 19, shall Bacolod City commenced to be organized under the duly appointed Mayor Montelibano,” Gamboa also stressed.
Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, former Chairman of the National Historical Commission (NHCP), wrote Bacolod City Representative Anthony Golez Jr. then in a document dated January 9, 2013, that the City of Bacolod started its “corporate existence” on October 19, 1938 thus, it should celebrate its Charter Day every October 19.
NHCP notes that Section 54 Commonwealth Act 326 states that the said law shall take effect upon its approval, but then again, the said law was shortly amended by Commonwealth Act 404, to the extent of seventeen (17) out of its fifty four (54) sections by the then President Manuel L. Quezon signed Commonwealth Act 404 on October 19, 1938, “the very day he inaugurated Bacolod as a Chartered City”.
Gamboa very recently was in receipt of the present NHCP Chairman Dr. Rene Escalante who reiterated their position that while Commonwealth Act 326 was “enacted” June 18, 1938, Bacolod City officially came into corporate existence when it was inaugurated by President Quezon on October 19, 1938 during the “foundational rites” attended by its people – the reason why every year following 1938, the people of Bacolod City have celebrated October 19, 1938 as their City’s “Charter/Foundation”, thus perpetuating this date as the “traditional” Charter Day of Bacolod City.
The NHCP likewise took as reference the Republic Act No. 7724 passed May 19, 1994 that declaring the City Charter Day on October 19 as a special non-working holiday every year was signed into law by then President Fidel Ramos.
He said, “In fact, last October 19, 2013, a commemorative stamp celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Cityhood of Bacolod was issued. These stamps are both historic and lends to the historicity of the October 19 event.”
Gamboa in a position paper submitted to the Bacolod Sangguniang Panglunsod (SP) stated, “Thus, I firmly believe that history does not commit error, it records actual events and attested true by tons of documents.”*