Cebu News

Against Modern-Day Challenges: Fight continues

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
Against Modern-Day Challenges: Fight continues
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on June 12, 2024
STAR/ Ryan Baldemor

CEBU, Philippines — President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. yesterday reechoed one of his famous lines to express the Filipinos' love for freedom during the celebration of Philippine Independence Day.

“On many occasions, great trials have all the more strengthened our resolve and unified our people because as I have said, ‘Filipinos do not yield’,” he said during his toast remarks for the Vin d’honneur in Malacañang.

The Vin d’honneur is an official reception hosted by the President of the Philippines at Malacañan Palace traditionally held on New Year’s Day and on Independence Day.

In a Facebook post of the Presidential Communication Office, Marcos said the struggle for Philippine independence continues to reverberate to this day, not against colonial oppression, but against modern-day challenges.

“We draw inspiration from the valor, resilience, and untiring spirit of our forefathers as we tackle these new challenges confronting our country,” he told members of his cabinet and the Diplomatic Corps.

President Marcos said Wednesday’s reception was more than just a commemoration of the birth of the Philippine Republic – the first in Asia – but a strong affirmation of the century-old nationhood.

He said the Filipinos’ collective duty is to safeguard what their forefathers have fought and died to protect the country and defend everything from those who will try to cross the line.

“Filipinos must dig deep into their valiant past and draw strength from the heroism of their forefathers and let the heritage of selflessness propel them forward into the future,” he added.

The president said that “as the nation celebrates the Philippine independence, 126 years since the Philippine flag was first unfurled in 1898, the flame of Filipino nationalism that sustained the quest for freedom remains lit in the beating heart of the Filipino nation to this very day”.

The President also tackled the Philippines’ “adherence to an independent foreign policy seeking to strengthen existing alliances and build new partnerships with like-minded states”.

“Our foreign policy is grounded on the continuing promotion and work for peace, and the continuing promotion and work for our national interest,” President Marcos said.

“On the global stage, we have taken positions in support of the rule of law and of the rules-based international order, grounded on the principles laid out in the UN Charter and multilateral conventions,” he added.

He said the Philippines will “continue to enhance engagements with bilateral, regional, and multilateral partners, as it continues to promote diplomacy and dialogue in our efforts to “build bridges” in our various multilateral advocacies - such as for peace, economic development, and climate change”.

In Cebu City, suspended Mayor Michael Rama sent his message of unity and strength for the people and honoring those who fought for our freedom.

He joined the rest of the Cebuanos and Filipinos in honoring the legacy of those who fought valiantly for the country's freedom.

“Their bravery and unwavering commitment to our country's independence are the foundation upon which our nation stands,” he said.

Mayor Rama said the City of Cebu and the rest of the Cebu island is a living testament to resilience and unity, to which he is “deeply and unwaveringly committed to its progress and development”.

“Every day, I strive to ensure the well-being and convenience of every citizen and visitor, recognizing that our collective efforts shape the future of Cebu City…. My passion for this city runs deep, as a true grandson, son, and now father of Cebu City,” he said.

Mayor Rama said he remains steadfast in his mission to protect the city from those who seek to disrupt and derail its progress through encroachment and other unjust means.

“It is my solemn duty to uphold the WILL OF THE PEOPLE, ensuring that our governance reflects your hopes, dreams, and aspirations,” he said.

Mayor Rama continues to look forward to building for Cebu City, with the rest of the Cebuanos, a place “where our children and future generations can thrive in a place that stands tall as a beacon of prosperity and unwavering independence”.

Mayor Rama said, such journey is not his alone but is a shared endeavor that requires the unity and strength of all Cebuanos.

“Let us unite, hand in hand, in our pursuit of a future where Cebu City exemplifies resilience, prosperity, and unwavering independence. …Let us be inspired by the legacy of our forefathers and honor their memory by working together for a brighter, more prosperous One Cebu Island,” he said, while expressing his pride of being a Cebuano and prouder of being a Filipino.

Meanwhile, Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia said his act of slashing the budget for the Independence Day celebrations from P11 million to just P3 million did not affect its observance but instead highlighted its “significance”.

To commemorate the 126th Independence Day, the city joined the national celebration with the traditional civic-military parade from Fuente Osmeña to the Plaza Sugbo grounds followed by a wreath-laying ceremony, and a commemorative program yesterday.

City Councilors Pancreasio "Francis" Esparis, Rey Gealon, Jose Lorenzo Abellanosa, Jocelyn Resquera, Noel Eleuterio Wenceslao, and Pastor "Jun" Alcover also joined him in the celebration.

Garcia said the celebration had been “very good”, expressing his appreciation for how the event turned out, specifically referring on the activities lined up.

“It (budget reduction) did not affect (the celebration). In fact, it is very much celebrated and the importance and the significance of Independence Day is much highlighted in all of our activities throughout the day and even in the following days to come,” he said.

“We saved money and every penny spent was very efficient and very effective,” he added.

Unlike the previous years’ celebrations, in particular, there was no Sinulog sa Barangayan yesterday, as the event supposedly required P6 million, which Garcia found extravagant.

Garcia previously said that the final budget is way less than the cost that was utilized last year which is at P6 million. He also said that it will no longer be a month-long Independence Day celebration but rather just a week-long activity that will focus on June 12.

Garcia also did away with the testimonial dinner which was previously held at Nustar Hotel & Resort. He also removed the Santacruzan, which to him is no longer that relevant to the celebration.

In his speech during the program, said he Independence Day is a remembrance of shared history and the birth of an independent nation, and also to remember the identity as Filipinos.

“It is a day to honor the bravery and resilience of our forefathers, who fought valiantly for our freedom and laid the foundation for the vibrant and diverse nation we are today,” he said.

The acting mayor concluded his message with a challenge for everyone to remember the past while “boldly envisioning” a bright future for all.

In neighboring Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes also led the 126th Independence Day commemoration at the Mandaue Heritage Plaza.

"Our forefathers fought valiantly for the freedom we enjoy today, and it is up to us to honor their legacy through our actions and dedication," he said in his inspirational message.

Cortes said independence involves a commitment to kindness, community involvement, supporting local businesses, being responsible citizens, caring for one another, and working towards the common good.

"Our independence is a shared gift, and with it comes the shared responsibility to keep our city moving forward...Each step we take, no matter how small, brings us closer to a Mandaue that is vibrant, inclusive, and resilient. Let us move Mandaue together," he said.

He was joined in the celebration by Vice Mayor Glenn Bercede, along with the city councilors, department heads, other government officials, and special guests Barbie Forteza and David Licauco.

This year, the flower offering, which was followed by the releasing of white doves as a sign of freedom, was made for the heroes who sacrificed their lives to defend the nation's independence.

“Today, we commemorate the bravery of our ancestors who fought for our freedom,” also said Mandaue City Lone District Representative Emmarie “Lolypop” Dizon, in her Facebook post.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard "Ahong" Chan, on the other hand, also led the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony at the Liberty Shrine in Barangay Mactan.

During the wreath-laying ceremony, Congresswoman Cindi King-Chan, Vice Mayor Celedonio Sitoy, and Police Colonel Ali Baron of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office joined him.

“Karong adlawa, atong gisaulog ang ika-126 ka tuig nga Araw ng Kalayaan isip paghandum sa kaisog sa atong mga bayani nga nahimo kitang gawasnon gikan sa mga dayuhang mananakop,” King-Chan said.

“Lami kaayu sa pamati nga padayon nato nga gitagamtam ang maong kagawasan nga gipaningkamotan sa atong mga bayani nga mibuhis og dugo, singot ug luha ug gibuhis mismo ang ilang kaugalingong kinabuhi pila na ka tuig ang milabay. Maong ang atong selebrasyon karon kay ang pagpadayag sa atong pasalamat ngadto kanila,” she added.

“Let us pay tribute to the bravery and resilience of our heroes who paved the way to our country's freedom. Maghiusa ta sa pagselebrar sa atoang kabilin, atong panaghiusa, ug atong mga pangandoy para sa masanag nga kaugmaon,” Talisay City Mayor Samsam Gullas, on the other hands, said in his Facebook post.

And though there were cause-oriented groups that held protest rallies, Cebu City Police Office Deputy Director for Operations Janette Rafter said today’s observance of Independence Day was peaceful.

CCPO deployed policemen, personnel from the Civil Disturbance

Management (CDM), assisted by Task Force Kasaligan members and police intelligence operatives who who monitored cause-oriented groups during their rally at Osmena

Boulevard, Plaza Independencia, and Colon Street.

Rafter said they did not receive any reports on untoward incidents.

“In fairness naman sa mga rallyist, they can easily disperse once nga atong

masultian, hatagan nato silag higayon for certain minute,” she said. — Iris Hazel Mascardo, Jonnavie J. Villa, Jonalyn Infante/RHM (FREEMAN)

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