BAGUIO CITY – “What have we been giving and what are we willing to contribute and sacrifice to be deserving of the independence our forefathers proclaimed 119 years ago?”
This was the challenge laid down by Mayor Mauricio Domogan in his message during the city’s 119th Philippine Independence Day Celebration last week at the Baguio Convention Center with the theme, “Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin”, participated by representatives from the government and private sectors.
The Mayor cited the heroism of 24-year-old Pfc. Dhan Ryan Bayot who was among those killed in the on-going Marawi siege by Maute-ISIS terrorists and his father, Sgt. Larry Bayot, who was willing to offer his sons in the altar of freedom. The younger Bayot was willing to be bombed to protect the nation’s peace, he added.
“We remember and pay homage to those who have fallen during the night – our leaders, patriots and martyrs who sacrificed their lives in order for us to live with dignity and freedom and to refresh our minds and commemorate that sacred day – that historic day of June 12, 1898 when our forefathers proclaimed sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the bondage and tyranny of colonial Hispanic rule.”
Domogan said that June 12, 1898 is a “sacred day where our forefathers courageously declared that our destiny as a sovereign nation will no longer be determined for us by a foreign nation but will be determined, once and for all, by the free and independent Filipino people”.
He pointed out that with all the freedom we have today, everyone must continue to work together in order to live up to the sublime spirit of the nation’s declaration of independence and to achieve that continuing, never ending change that Filipinos must all aspire for to give meaning and significance to the freedom that had been given as our inheritance.
“The essence of our Independence Day celebration is and has always been to remind us to value the freedom that has been fought for us – not only by preserving it but by contributing whatever we can to the altar of freedom to make our country a better place for everyone,” Domogan said. /Gaby Keith