CNMI government officials joined the Filipino community, led by Philippine honorary consul Glicerio Arago, at the Kanoa Resort parking lot early yesterday morning for the traditional flag-raising ceremony that signals the commemoration of the 121st Philippine Independence Day.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) were joined at the morning flag-raising by Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, Sen. Vinnie F. Sablan (Ind-Saipan), House Speaker Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan), Rep. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan), Rep. Luis John DLG Castro (R-Saipan), Rep. John Paul P. Sablan (R-Saipan), Rep. Richard T. Lizama (R-Saipan), Rep. Christina Sablan (Ind-Saipan), and Rep. Sheila J. Babauta (Ind-Saipan).
Members of the Emon Masonic Lodge No. 179 installed the Philippine flag on the Kanoa Resort flagpole. Torres and Delegate Gregorio Sablan assisted with raising the flag.
Most of the men present wore traditional Philippine attire, barong Tagalog, while the women were in traditional terno.
Another highlight of the flag-raising ceremony was the singing of the Philippine national anthem, which was done by Kenneth Codog.
“I feel so honored to present the national anthem because it is a very important symbolic song for our [country],” said Codog.
In his remarks, Delegate Gregorio Sablan highlighted the importance of the relationship between the people of the CNMI and the Filipino people.
“My friends, you are as much a part of this community as I am, and all your hard work is what makes us what we are today,” he said.
The year’s Philippine Independence Day’s theme is “Kalayaan 2019: Tapang ng Bayan, Malasakit na Mamayaman (Independence Day 2019: Courage of the Nation, Compassion for the People).”
In his closing remarks, Arago thanked the CNMI for keeping the relationship between the people of the CNMI and the Philippines “stronger than ever.”
“We show our gratitude…and we will continue to work together for the common good,” said Arago.
Messages from Philippine President Rodrigo E. Dutuerte, Philippine consul general Marciano de Borja, and Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. were also read at yesterday’s ceremony.
The Philippines declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.