15 JUNE 2022
WASHINGTON D.C. – The Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. celebrated the 124th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence through a series of events, namely the: 1) installation of a Philippine historical marker for the Philippine Ambassador’s Official Residence in the United States; 2) independence day flag honoring ceremony by Embassy personnel; 3) Himig ng Kalayaan Independence Day concert for the Filipino community in partnership with The Filipino Channel (TFC); 4) launch of the East-West Center’s publication titled “The Philippines Matters for America/America Matters for the Philippines”; and 5) a diplomatic reception hosted by the Philippine Embassy. Relevant links (e.g. press releases and video messages) to each of the activities are found at the end of the article.
The Embassy celebrated this year’s Independence Day Anniversary with the official theme Kalayaan 2022: Pagsulong sa Hamon ng Panibagong Bukas (Rise towards the Challenge of a New Beginning).
Historical Marker Classification for the Official Residence of the Philippine Ambassador to the United States
The Embassy launched the series of Independence Day activities with the installation and turnover of a historical marker for the Philippine Ambassador’s official residence in the United States. National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairperson Rene R. Escalante and Chief Architect Reynaldo Lita were the guests of honor during the official signing and turnover ceremonies conducted at the Embassy and the official residence, respectively.
Flag Ceremony and Independence Day Concert
The Embassy and its personnel – led by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez – successfully held its traditional Independence Day flag honoring ceremony in the morning of June 12, 2022 at the Embassy’s Old Chancery building. Following the raising of the Philippine flag, the Independence Day video messages of Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr were played. Ambassador Romualdez then delivered his personal greetings and message.
Later that evening, the Embassy and both Filipino and American communities were entertained and serenaded at the 2022 Independence Day concert produced by TFC at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. The concert celebrated the theme “Himig ng Kalayaan: Celebrating Filipino Excellence and Heritage” and showcased world-class performances by distinguished Filipino artists such as the Concert King Martin Nievera, Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha, and New York’s Broadway Barkada.
Ambassador Romualdez also had the opportunity to address the audience and Filipino community members at the start of the concert. He recalled the accomplishments of the Embassy for the past five years and shared that, “Although there have been a lot of challenges, the work we have been doing here has also been fulfilling and rewarding… Let me just share that we refurbished all Philippine properties in D.C. and two of the three buildings, namely the Old Chancery Building and the Official Residence, have been declared a national historical landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.”
The Ambassador continued, “Furthermore, the return of the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines undoubtedly brought closure to, and reinforced the mutual respect and recognition between our two countries. These historical moments are something that we take great pride in as it symbolizes the long standing and friendly relationship we have had with the United States.”
Publication Launch and Diplomatic Reception
The Embassy’s National Day reception on 13 June, 2022 was preceded by the launch of the East-West Center’s publication entitled, “The Philippines Matters for America / America Matters for the Philippines”. The launch of the infographics project capped the yearlong commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States. In his remarks, Ambassador Romualdez underscored that the Philippines-US relations remain strong and robust while Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava of the Embassy of the United States of America in Manila joined virtually. East-West Center President Suzanne Vares-Lum delivered a brief presentation on the publication, which is part of the Asia Matters for America initiative.
To conclude the Embassy’s Independence Day festivities, Ambassador Romualdez hosted a diplomatic reception, which was attended by key partners from the U.S. government, including the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense; members of the diplomatic corps; and, friends from the business community.
“I am deeply honored to have been requested to continue serving as the Ambassador to the United States under the incoming administration of president-elect Ferdinand ‘Bong-Bong’ Marcos Jr.. He asked me to stay on with specific instructions to continue what I have been doing here in bringing relations between the United States and the Philippines to an even higher level, and for the two nations to achieve a better understanding of – and appreciation for – each other,” Ambassador Romualdez said in his remarks.
National Security Council Senior Director Edgard Kagan graced the reception and underscored that the United States is “very excited about the prospect of successful election, a smooth transition of power, and the clear signals from the incoming administration of the desire to work with the United States to strengthen the relationship.”
For her part, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jung Pak emphasized the strong bilateral relationship of the Philippines and the United States that is deeply rooted in the shared history, hopes, and people-to-people ties of the two countries. She also noted that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the presence in the Philippines of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Peace Corps.
US-Philippines Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio and Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia were also present at the reception. Meanwhile, Heads of Posts from the Philippine Consulates General in Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco took part in the Embassy’s National Day activities.
Along with the celebration of the 124th Philippine Independence Day this year, the Embassy also commemorated the closing of the year-long 75th anniversary of the Philippines-US diplomatic relations, with a hope of continued robust alliance between the two countries.
Full Press Release on the Official Residence NHCP Historical Marker can be found here : https://tinyurl.com/32cdy4zd
Independence Day Video Message of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte: https://tinyurl.com/bdstj9sj
Independence Day Video Message of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr: https://tinyurl.com/k3xfb6x2
Independence Day Message of Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez: https://tinyurl.com/9rb4aek9
Full Press Release on the East-West Center Publication Launch can be found here : https://tinyurl.com/mrxrts2d