September 2 is non-working holiday in the province of Albay. The Malacanang declaration was due to the commemoration of the 148th birth anniversary of the late Gen. Simeon A. Ola, the Bicolano hero during the Philippine-American War.
Born on September 2, 1865 in Guinobatan, Albay, to ordinary citizens Vicente Ola and Apolonia Arboleda, Gen. Ola was a hero of the Philippine Revolution and widely remembered by Bicolanos to be the last general to surrender to American forces during the Phil-Am War.
He was a student a college in Naga City in 1896 when he decided to give up his studies to join the local unit of the anti-American revolutionary movement in Albay.
As a brave fighter, Ola was promoted to the rank of captain after figuring in a fierce battle against American soldiers in Camalig town in 1898 and again promoted to the rank of major after a daring ambush mission that led to the capture of three American military officers.
He was also the leader of the subsequent valiant attacks on enemy forces in the towns of Oas, Ligao and Jovellar.
Considered by the Americans as a valiant defender of Filipino freedom, Ola agreed to surrender in exchange for the amnesty granted by the American government to his men.
Ola was subsequently put on trial and was proven guilty of sedition and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In 1904, he was given a pardon and returned to his place of birth in Guinobatan where he was elected town mayor in 1910 and served the position until 1919.
He died of a lingering ailment on Feb. 14, 1952 and to keep him remembered for his heroism, the regional headquarters for Bicol of the Philippine National Police here has been named after him.
In issuing Proclamation No. 635 signed by Executive Sec. Paquito Ochoa last Aug. 22, Malacañang said the non-working special holiday during Ola Day is to give the people of Albay the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda will lead the celebration highlighted by the laying of wreaths on the Ola monument in Guinobatan and at the police regional camp on Sept. 2. (PNA)
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