The freedom to chart your own future is like a beautiful ray of sunlight over a land long covered in darkness. That must have been the sentiment of our Negros forefathers 121 years ago when the document evidencing the surrender of Spanish forces in Negros Occidental was signed in the then town of Bacolod on November 6, 1899.
The Negros Revolution against Spain started on November 5, 1898, to end on November 6, 1898 with the signing of the Act of Capitulation by the Spanish Forces. This is the last page of the act. It can be said – that this could be one of the shortest, bloodless revolutions in the country.
The surrender document was signed in the residence of José Ruiz de Luzuriaga, a rich businessman who was deemed acceptable to both rebels and Spanish authorities was sent to mediate.
At noon, a delegation from each of the major belligerents met at the house of Luzuriaga. The rebel delegation included Lacson, Araneta, Gólez, Locsín, Simeón Lizares, Julio Díaz, and José Montilla.
In an hour, it was agreed by both sides that “Spanish troops both European and native surrendered the town and its defenses unconditionally, turning over arms and communication” and that “public funds would be turned over to the new government”.
The Spanish signatories of the surrender document included Isidro de Castro, Braulio Sanz, Manuel Abenza, Ramón Armada, Emilio Monasterio and Domingo Ureta. Those who signed for the Negros revolutionary forces were Aniceto Lacson, Juan Araneta, Leandro Locsin, Simeón Lizares, Julio Díaz, and José Montilla.
Forty-seven eminent Negrenses formulated and ratified a constitution to create a new republic. Signatories included among others Aniceto Lacson, Juan Araneta, Simeón Lizares, Antonio L. Jayme, Eusebio Luzuriaga, Nicolas Gólez, Agustín Amenabar, Rafael Ramos and Rosendo Lacson.
The signing on November 6 happened as a result of the Negros revolt which started on November 3, 1898 or five months after the Act of Declaration of Philippine Independence was issued on June 12, 1898 since the revolution started in 1896. The Negros revolt is probably the shortest in history.
On November 27, 1898, the unicameral Chamber of Deputies met in Bacolod and declared the establishment of the separate Cantonal Republic of Negros, not recognizing the government under Aguinaldo. The Negros republic came under U.S. protection on April 30, 1899 as a separate state from the rest of the Philippine Islands and on the next day, the republic’s constitution was passed.
On July 22, 1899, it was renamed the Republic of Negros. However, on 30 April 1901, it had been dissolved and the island of Negros was annexed to the Philippine Islands by the United States, who retained control until the Japanese imperial occupation in the Second World War.
The Luzuriaga house where the capitulation was signed eventually was used by the provincial of Negros Occidental and later on became the city hall of Bacolod, up to this day. In 2007, the National Historical Commission (NHI) has installed a marker at the site of the Capitulation which is now the Fountain of Justice of the Bacolod City Hall.
The historical name of Bacolod City’s public plaza is Plaza El Seis De Noviembre to mark the day of independence.
During her term as councilor, Jocelle Batapa Sigue chaired the Sanggunian Committee on History, Arts and Culture (CHAC) and pushed for the annual commemoration of the event with various historical and cultural organizations.
In 2015, an ordinance was approved declaring November 6 of every year as a historic day for the City of Bacolod to commemorate the signing of the Act of Capitulation or Document of Surrender of the Spanish forces.
Former councilor Em Ang, chairperson of committee on history, culture and arts; and former councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, chairperson of committee on tourism and local, national and international cooperation, are the proponents of the said measure.
November 6 is a historic day for Bacolodnons – it is a day to celebrate freedom. Every Bacolodnon should take this day as an inspiration to persevere and achieve, and to face the future with optimism, knowledge and boldness.
(Source: WikiPedia and Modesto Sa-onoy Historical Accounts)