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Rule of Law Month – September 2023

Rule of Law Month occurs every September in the Philippines, which was once ruled by a dictator for 14 years. In 2004, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Proclamation No. 713, declaring September as Rule of Law Month. The proclamation was issued to ensure that all individuals, establishments, and institutions abide by the country’s rules. According to the United Nations, the rule of law is essential for peace and economic and social progress. In addition, it ensures that everyone’s civil rights are protected.

History of Rule of Law Month

Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal Arroyo, commonly known by her initials G.M.A., served as the 14th president of the Republic of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010. Arroyo was born to Diosdado Macapagal, a politician, and Evangelina Macaraeg Macapagal. She married Jose Miguel Arroyo in 1968. Arroyo was elected Vice-President in the 1998 elections and President in 2001.

In 2004, Arroyo signed Proclamation No. 713, which designated September as Rule of Law Month to ensure all entities, whether private citizens or public figures, and organizations respected and followed the law equally. The United Nations (U.N.) stated, “The rule of law is fundamental to international peace and security and political stability; to achieve economic and social progress and development; and to protect people’s rights and fundamental freedoms. It is foundational to people’s access to public services, curbing corruption, restraining the abuse of power, and to establishing the social contract between people and the state.”

The U.N. also mentioned that these laws should be equally enforced and “are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.” However, things took a turn during current President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. Many civilians were killed during supposed anti-drug operations. Attempts have been made to ensure Rule of Law Month is observed how it should be — equally and in compliance with human rights laws.

Rule of Law Month timeline

1947
G.M.A. is Born

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is born in San Juan, Rizal, Philippines.

1998
She Becomes Vice President

Arroyo becomes the Vice President of the Philippines in a landslide victory.

2001
She is Voted President

Arroyo becomes the President of the Philippines.

2004
Rule of Law Month

September is declared Rule of Law Month following Proclamation No. 713.

Rule of Law Month FAQs

What was the first law in the Philippines?

The first Philippines law was the Philippine Organic Act instituted in 1902. It established a Philippine Assembly including Filipino citizens.

Who upholds the rule of law in the Philippines?

The Department of Justice’s primary objective is to uphold the rule of law in the country.

Who is the current Chief Justice of the Philippines?

The current Chief Justice of the Philippines, locally known as ‘Punong Mahistrado ng Pilipinas,’ is Alexander Gesmundo. He is the highest judicial officer in the Philippines.

How to Observe Rule of Law Month

  1. Understand the importance

    Rule of Month law was created to ensure everyone, including the law enforcement department, was treated equally and obeyed the law. Read up on Philippine history to understand why the Rule of Law is particularly important in the country.

  2. Brush up on local laws

    Rule of Law Month encourages all citizens to be aware of laws. Look up your local laws to know and observe your rights.

  3. Understand the challenges

    Why is Rule of Law Month not functioning as it should be? This is a good month to educate yourself about the challenges faced by Philippine citizens and how the government deals with them.

5 Facts About Philippine Politics That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. They have a three-branch system

    The Philippines follows a three-branch government system, with the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches comprising the government.

  2. A president serves for six years

    A Philippine president can serve a maximum of six years and cannot run for the position again after their term.

  3. The legal system shows colonial influence

    The Philippine legal system is a combination of civil and common law and was influenced by the legal systems of Spain and the United States, which both colonized the Philippines.

  4. Elections occur every three years

    The Philippine elections occur every three years following a plurality voting system.

  5. Martial Law was declared

    In 1973, President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in the country, and democracy was not restored until 1986.

Why Rule of Law Month is Important

  1. It makes us realize the law’s importance

    This month is a reminder that no one is above the law. Whether you are a private citizen or the President, the law applies equally.

  2. It’s a reminder of Philippine history

    Many human rights violations were committed during the 14-year dictatorship of President Marcos. Rule of Law Month reminds Filipinos of the darkest time in the country’s history and encourages everyone to respect the law.

  3. It encourages us to learn more

    Many people are unaware of international politics. This month is the perfect opportunity to share knowledge, hold discussions, and grow intellectually as a community.

Rule of Law Month dates

YearDateDay
2023September 1Friday
2024September 1Sunday
2025September 1Monday
2026September 1Tuesday
2027September 1Wednesday
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