The Philippines and the CNMI renewed their long-standing friendship with Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog and honorary consul of the Philippines to the CNMI Glicerio “Eli” Arago leading the proclamation signing yesterday at the Seaside Hall of the Kanoa Resort.
Philippine Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) witnessed the proclamation signing that was attended by Tan Holdings chief executive officer and president Jerry Tan and officers and members of the United Filipino Organization and their umbrella groups.
Hocog, in his remarks, said the CNMI joins the Filipino community in the Commonwealth in celebrating the 118th year of independence of Asia’s first democratic nation. He added that both share a lot of things even in food where the CNMI people learned to get accustomed to eating Filipino foods adobo, dinuguan, and sinigang.
“No matter where you are, you can feel and celebrate regardless of the distance,” said Hocog. “We share a heritage that we all embrace and taken to heart. Think of our ancestors every time in order not to lose that heritage and traditions.”
He also acknowledged the important role that Filipinos, in all sectors of the community, played in helping build the CNMI today. “It would be very difficult to see where and what we are today without all the Filipinos. We should value togetherness. We can make things happen by working together.”
“These are professionals in the nursing, laboratory, media, engineering, and businesses, and those who are in the hotel and construction fields. There’s also integration of families where some married Chamorros and Carolinians,” Hocog added.
Angara, in his speech, said the CNMI and the Philippines have a lot of things in common. “We share a heritage and history. We are like brothers and sisters since we have the same parents in Spain.”
He added that June 12 has been an important date for Filipinos since in 1898 the flag was raised for the first time declaring the country’s independence from Spain. “Filipino heroes, back then, believed that all should be equal and fought for liberty and freedom that we enjoy today.”
Arago, on the other hand, said June 12 should be the day that Filipinos honor all the men and women who fought for the freedom that the Philippines enjoy today. “Let it be an inspiration to others. Learning to be living and being united as one community, then we can appreciate each other and value what we do.”
Philippine Independence Day messages of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Department of Foreign Affairs Sec. Jose Rene Almendras, U.S. Ambassador of the Philippines Jose L. Cuisia Jr., and Guam Consul General Marciano De Borja were read by various heads of member groups of the United Filipino Organization.
Angara arrived last Friday morning and paid a courtesy visit to then acting governor Hocog and the Legislature in Capital Hill. He also attended the Vin d’honneur and Gala dinner hosted by Arago at the Fiesta Resort & Spa’s Hibiscu Hall.
Angara was also the special guest of the UFO’s Pistang Pinoy at the Marianas Business Plaza where UFO president Bong Malasarte thanked Tan for bringing the Filipino lawmaker to Saipan.
“This won’t be made possible without Mr. Tan’s help. At least, senator Angara heard what are the concerns of our fellow Filipinos. His presence made the Philippine Independence Day celebration more interesting,” said Malasarte.
He then thanked all sponsors for supporting them throughout the years and all UFO officers, members, and umbrella organizations of the decades-old group. “This won’t be made successful without all the help and united front of many groups and individuals. Seeing our countrymen enjoying the festivities make it all worthwhile.”
Filipino folk dances performed by students of Green Meadows School, and songs by Keynotes Music School where some of the entertainment yesterday. Games and other events were also held, while various items were sold like clothes and gadgets.