Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Mary Anne A. Padua welcomed around 100 guests from the Filipino-Australian community in Canberra to the Philippine Embassy’s flag raising ceremony at the Embassy grounds on the occasion of the commemoration the 113th proclamation of Philippine independence.
In her welcome remarks, Ms. Padua said that those present “join the millions of Filipinos back home and all over the world in a testament of our loyalty, love and concern for our Inang Bayan, the Philippines.”
She informed the crowd of a three-fold reason to celebrate as the Philippines also marks this year the 150th Birth Anniversary of national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, and the 25th Anniversary of the People Power Revolution.
Under this year’s theme of “Kalayaan: Paninindigan ng Bayan,” she enjoined the Filipino-Australian community to join hands in reaffirming the collective resolve and commitment to work together for a Philippines free from poverty, corruption, oppression and ignorance. “These are the same ideals by which our forebears lived, sacrificed and offered their lives for,” Ms. Padua said.
Aside from the flag raising itself and the poignant singing of the Philippine National Anthem, the ceremony’s program included the reading of Independence Day messages of Philippine Government officials.
Defense and Armed Forces Attaché Captain Ernesto Enriquez delivered the message of Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo SL Oban, Jr.; Attaché Carlomagno Estole read the message of Labor Secretary Rosalina Dimapilis-Baldoz; Third Secretary and Vice Consul Alexander N. Go read the message of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario.
Ms. Padua shared the message of President Benigno S. Aquino III which challenged Filipinos overseas “to never waver from the straight and righteous path and to work together to establish a future of stability and peace.”
Ms. Padua also presided over the oath-taking and awarding of certificates of dual citizenship seven former Filipinos who reacquired their Filipino citizenship by virtue of the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003.
The last part of the program was the posthumous presentation of the Philippine Liberation Medal to Mr. Brian Gorter, grandson of Mr. Reginald Braithwaite Sharp, who served in the Royal Australian Navy and was assigned to the HMAS Kanimbla in the Philippines between 20 October 1944 and 16 February 1945.