Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. (Philippine Embassy)

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. (Philippine Embassy)

Isang maligayang pagbati sa inyong lahat.  A pleasant greeting to everyone as we commemorate the 115th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence, which also marks the sesquicentennial of the birth of one of our most revered heroes – Andres Bonifacio

The theme for this year’s commemoration is Kalayaan 2013: Ambagan Tungo sa Malawakang Kaunlaran. It is particularly appropriate in the context of the good news emanating from the country.  The Philippines continues to perform beyond expectations with unprecedented growth figures.  The country is reaping the fruits from reforms being instituted pursuant to the Aquino Administration’s program of good governance.  The recently concluded elections not just reflects the vibrancy of our democracy, but the faith voters have placed in the government’s agenda.

However, the government continues to work on the challenge of sustaining the positive momentum, and ensuring that the fruits of our economic development will benefit the majority of our people at the soonest possible time.

This is where the broader concept of ambagan, or of the community coming together towards a single purpose, comes in.

Throughout our history, countless brave men and women fought valiantly for the cause of freedom during the fateful period of the late 19th century.  Bonifacio, who founded the Katipunan, penned stirring manifestos and roused nationalism that would help overthrow three centuries of subjugation to Spain.

The Katipunan was a society direly needed by the country then.  Today, in a different and far less tumultuous setting, Filipino American associations can also serve as important catalysts for change, as we build on the sacrifices of our heroes.  The efforts of socio-civic organizations in attaining the Philippines’ development objectives contribute to a future of peace and prosperity that Filipinos from all walks of life rightfully deserve.

With this year’s theme, each one of us is called upon to do our share to ensure that our development is sustained, and its fruits are enjoyed by the most number of people.  It is imperative that we join hands and march alongside one another toward an era of even greater stability and equitable progress.

Mabuhay ang diwa ng kalayaan!

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas at ang sambayanang Pilipino!