15 June 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., together with the Philippine Consulates General in Agana, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco celebrated the 123rd Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence and the 75th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with the United States. Due to COVID-19 health protocols, the event was held at the Main Chancery Building and the Chancery Annex of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC on 15 June 2021.
The Embassy served light refreshments for its top government partners from the State Department, Pentagon, and the White House in the Main Chancery Building. ABS-CBN Bureau Chief TJ Manotoc served as the master of ceremonies. Meanwhile, the Embassy prepared Filipino food at the Chancery Annex for invited Filipino community leaders – particularly organizations linked with medical and economic frontliners, those interconnected and supporting the vaccine-related initiatives of the Embassy, and those that continued to show strong support for the Filipino diaspora in the United States.
“This year’s commemoration of the 123rd anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence is doubly significant because we are also celebrating a major milestone -the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States,” Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said in his opening remarks.
The Ambassador continued, “There is absolutely no doubt that the great cornerstone of this relationship is our people-to- people ties that have grown deeper over the years, underpinned by the shared history and experiences that make our friendship unique and special-the reason why we have been able to navigate and overcome the challenges that have occasionally tested this priceless relationship.”
He further stated that “The Philippines we see today is the progeny of our forefathers’ efforts to build a country capable of holding its own in the global community of nations. A nation capable of protecting the values and interests of its people above all else, and in so doing, enabling their dignity and fundamental freedoms to flower and to flourish.”
Ambassador Romualdez’s keynote remarks were followed by the video messages of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Joseph Biden, Jr.
Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA 3rd District) graced the event and stated in his remarks, “This Independence Day, we recognize the long successful history of the Philippines and the fight for democracy and freedom. Also, as a reminder of the work that we need to do to continue to protect and promote democracy around the world. We have a strong relationship between our countries, of course, broad based economic growth, improved health and education of our people as well as advanced democratic values, good governance, and human rights.”
Likewise, Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) was present and expressed in his remarks, “Our peoples enjoy shared democratic values, mutual strategic interest, deep bilateral military cooperation, a vibrant economic partnership and above all as the Ambassador said, close people to people ties… Today’s momentous occasion is a testament to our enduring friendship, our common interests, and our shared values. Together we must work to deepen this invaluable relationship.”
Representatives Scott and Chabot are current Co-Chairs of the U.S.-Philippines Friendship Caucus, a bipartisan network of U.S. legislators who support the U.S.-Philippines alliance and promote the interests and welfare of Filipino Americans
The event featured the U.P. Madrigal singers who performed a heartfelt rendition of the Philippine and U.S. National Anthems. The program was capped by a virtual concert ’75th & Beyond: A Celebration of Enduring Partnership for Peace and Prosperity’ generously produced by The Filipino Channel.
The Philippine Independence Day 2021 virtual concert may be viewed on the Embassy’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PHinUSA.
The Embassy’s commemoration of these significant milestones was unhampered by protests by certain groups held outside of the Embassy, which also advocated a hodgepodge of issues unrelated to the work of the Embassy and the significance of the robust bilateral relationship such as those concerning Palestine and the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. The Embassy’s celebration remained a solemn and appreciated affair, but was made colorful by protests symbolic of the very freedoms of free speech and the right to congregate cherished by both the Philippines and the United States.