BALIWAG: VIVA VOCE
Mark James S. Evangelista
Did you know that the First local election in the country was held at Baliwag, Bulacan?
Unknown to many, Baliwag, a busy town located at the Northern part of Bulacan is a land rich with Cultural Heritage and Tradition. Among the cultural landmarks here are the century’s old Baroque San Agustin Church, Old Spanish Houses and the Old Glorrieta. During the Holy Week, the town is frequented by tourists and penitents to watch the “longest- Lenten procession” in the country. But what is really interesting about this town is its singular honor of being the first municipality ever organized under the American rule.
In line with the pacification campaign of the
, An order was issued by Military Governor Elwell Otis to hold an election to all territories captured from the fugitive Philippine Republic. The order was then carried out by General Henry Lawton who was at Baliwag that time. United States of America
The First local election took place on May 6, 1899 and Francisco Guerrero was the elected municipal president, Villacorte (2001). The said election was conducted by word of mouth (Viva Voce). This strategy is done by the American Rulers to convince the terrified natives that the Americans came here not to enslave them but to give them freedom. The said election was held near the town plaza. The house of Dr. Joaquin Gonzales, a revolutionary figure and an ally of President Emilio Aguinaldo, was then acquired by the American Government for the local government. Today, the old Municipio is transformed into a museum, the Sentro ng Kalinangan at Kasaysayan ng Baliwag depicting the glorious past and the blissful present of Baliwag. Admission is free and it is open form Mondays to Fridays, 9AM -4 PM.