Thousands of Filipinos from all over the world join their fellow countrymen as they celebrate the Philippines' 113th year of independence on Sunday, June 12.
Independence day celebrations and activities were kicked off by Philippine President Benigno "PNoy" Aquino III who led the flag raising ceremony early this morning at Rizal Park in Manila. From here, he headed to Kawit, Cavite where he raised the Philippine flag at the balcony of the Aguinaldo Shrine where Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippines did so after declaring the independence of the Philippines from Spain on June 12, 1898.
Simultaneous flag raising ceremonies were also held in different historic sites in the Philippines which were officiated by other members of the Philippine government. These include the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, the Andres Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, the Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan, the Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion (Spanish for the Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution) in Manila's North Cementery, and the Pamintuan Mansion in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Following the flag raising ceremony at the Aguinaldo Shrine, President Aquino delivered his first ever Freedom Day keynote address. He will be delivering the same speech at the Quirino Grandstand where he will kick off the Independence Day parade and celebration at 4:00 pm. According to Deputy President spokesperson Abigail Valte, the President's speech is expected to be a preview of his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA), which he will be giving in July.
Valte urged the Filipinos to take part in the various activities in celebration of the 113th Day of Philippine Independence. "Kung walang ginagawa [If you are not doing anything], you can go watch the Independence Day parade and all other activities," she said.
In the United States, an estimated 100,000 Filipino Americans flocked into Madison Avenue in New York City last June 5 to celebrate their country's 113th year of Independence. A float and foot parade kicked off the festivities, which was graced by Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay and popular Filipino artists from the Philippines' ABS-CBN network, which provides The Filipino Channel (TFC) viewed by Filipinos in all parts of the world.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extended her congratulations to the Filipinos on Friday in line with the celebration of the country's independence. The congratulatory message was sent through the US Embassy in Manila.
"On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to congratulate the people of the Philippines on the 113th anniversary of your declaration of independence this June 12," she said. "Today, we are working together on many new fronts. Whether we are working to find ways to catalyze economic growth, helping victims of natural disasters, combating extremism, or calling for greater protection of human rights, our two countries share a vision of a better world."
US Ambassador Harry Thomas, Jr. also extended his congratulations, adding that "the Philippines and the US will maintain strong relationship now and forever."
"This is a commitment born of our shared histories and close ties, and we are proud to stand by your side,” he said.
Meanwhile, some 77,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) based in Taiwan are expected to join their countrymen in celebration of the country's independence. According to GMA News, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) based in Taiwan will be hosting two events in celebration of the independence day of the Philippines: a talent show at the Tanzi Elementary School in Taiwan on June 12, and a Taipei-Manila Workers’ Fun Day at the sports center of National Taiwan University on June 19.