MANILA, Jun 13, 2021, PhilStar. United States President Joe Biden yesterday cited the enduring friendship between the Philippines and the United States as he joined Filipinos in celebrating the country’s 123rd Independence Day, The Philippine Star reported.
In his first Philippine Independence Day message as leader of the country’s long-time ally, Biden called for the continued partnership between the US and the Philippines in addressing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Philippines and the United States share so much history and our people are forever connected through our deep bonds and shared sacrifices of valor, of family and of friendship,” he said in a video message released by the US embassy in Manila.
“As we honor this joyful occasion of independence and friendship, let’s also look to the future, at the challenges our two countries must continue to work to take on together: From defeating this pandemic and strengthening global preparedness for the next one, to advancing the free and open Indo-Pacific region for all peoples,” he added.
Biden also noted the valuable contribution of the more than four million Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who live in the US, saying they enrich the American character and make their nation stronger and more vibrant.
“This year, our nations are also celebrating two momentous anniversaries – our 75th anniversary of our diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of our strong alliance,” he said, with the latter referring to signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries in 1951.
“I hope that friendship between the Philippines and the United States will continue to be a source of strength for both our nations through all the decades,” added the US President.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he is looking forward to deepening the friendship and cooperation between Manila and Washington in the years to come.
“Our long and deeply interwoven history stands as a strong foundation for our enduring alliance, and our close relationship is rooted in our shared interests and rich people-to-people ties,” he said in a separate statement.
“Together, as friends, allies and partners, our two countries will strive to ensure a more peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” added Blinken.
Various diplomatic posts in the Philippines have also joined the country’s celebration of Independence Day, including the embassies of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany and France.
The Chinese embassy in Manila, where protesters gathered on Saturday, also posted its greeting on its social media accounts, saying: “We wish the people of the Republic of the Philippines a happy and prosperous independence day on June 12.”
The European Union in the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have also sent their respective messages to the country in their respective social media accounts.
Message for OFWs
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. paid tribute to Filipinos overseas on the national holiday.
He cited how Filipinos continue to contribute much to the world even in pandemic times, noting support to besieged health care systems, manning maritime vessels and running critical infrastructure in many countries.
“I commend Filipino frontliners abroad for doing what they are best known for – selfless service and gentle nurture, so desperately needed in these terrible times,” said Locsin.
“Our health care workers are our best and most credible ambassadors of goodwill beside whom even diplomats pale. They don’t just avow saving lives; they do it,” he added.
The secretary noted how the global Filipino redefined what it means to be an essential worker, noting how even those who were against the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration see Filipinos as essential to their recovery.
He reiterated the commitment of the Department of Foreign Affairs to support Filipinos in any part of the world, citing repatriation efforts being conducted amid the pandemic.
“I cannot say for certain that normalcy will be completely restored. But I believe that down the dark tunnel the global situation will improve,” said Locsin.
“And the Filipino diaspora is part of the light at the end of it. Pandemic or not, this is the best time to be a Filipino,” he added.