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Martial Law declared by Blanco
Daily History Philippine History Philippine Revolution

Martial Law declared by Blanco: August 30, 1896

On this day in 1896, Governor-General of the Philippines Ramon Blanco declared a state of war and placed under martial law the eight provinces of Luzon — Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija — where there had been reports of armed revolution by the Katipunan.

It was the first time in Philippine history and the only time during the Spanish colonial period that Martial Law was declared.

The Katipunan, a secret society led by Andres Bonifacio that espouses armed revolution against Spain, declared the country’s independence from Spain and started sporadic uprisings in northern Manila between Aug. 21 and 30, 1898. This after the existence of the Katipunan was revealed through a confession to church officials by former member Teodoro Patiño.

The civilian government and civilian judicial authorities shall continue functioning in all matters appropriately belonging to their attributes that do not refer to public order and this last matter to whatever the military allows them to do or delegates to them, requiring each one to give the other any news that will reach their knowledge.

excerpt from Blanco’s Martial Law Declaration

Despite creating a semblance of normalcy, Blanco ordered arbitrary arrest of individuals suspected of membership or giving support to the Katipunan.

Among those arrested were reformists such as Dr. Jose Rizal, the brothers Antonio and Juan Luna, lawyer Apolinario Mabini, journalist Isabelo de los Reyes, and prominent businessmen such as Francisco Roxas, Telesforo Chiudian, Doroteo Ongjunco, Mariano Limjap, and Luis Yangco. Blanco also requested additional troops from Spain to augment the Guardia Civil that was fighting the Katipunan in the said provinces.

He also declared that an amnesty will be given to any Katipunan member who will surrender within 48-hours, an offer which was extended until Sept. 3, 1896. The amnesty offer was only extended to Katipunan members and not to its leaders.

A subsequent decree by Blanco on Oct. 25, 1896 placed three additional provinces under martial law: Zambales, Bataan, and Sibugay in Zamboanga.

Seven of the eight provinces where the 1896 Philippine Revolution began are now immortalized as the rays of the sun in the design of the Philippine flag that was sewn by Marcela Agoncillo in Hong Kong, as per the Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898.


Ocampo, Ambeth (17 December 2009). “Martial law in 1896”Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Agoncillo, Teodoro C. (1990) [1960], History of the Filipino People (8th ed.), Quezon City: Garotech Publishing, pp. 173-174

Cerrato, Cristobel. “El joven Maeztu y la canalla periodística.” Espéculo. Revista de estudios literarios. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. 2007

Trivia question:

Of the eight provinces placed under Martial Law, which province was excluded from portrayal in the eight rays of the sun and replaced instead by Bataan?

Yesterday’s answer: 1954 FIBA World Championship

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