MANILA, Philippines – There’s just one event to celebrate: the anniversary of Philippine independence from more than 300 years of colonial rule.
But 119 years since the country was freed from Spain’s control, the Philippines had faced numerous challenges and struggles and thus commemorating Araw ng Kalayaanhas taken new meanings and forms, reflecting the spirit of the times.
Below are some of the things Filipinos did on June 12 to express their patriotism:
1. Fly the Philippine flag in Marawi to symbolize the liberation of the city from the clutches of terrorists.
This is what was done Monday morning in the Lanao del Sur capital that continues to be attacked by the ISIS-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups led by Isnilon Hapilon. A flag-raising ceremony was held at Camp Bagong Mai Pakpak that was attended by soldiers, government officials, and residents.
2. Paint the walls of a community near the West Philippine Sea just like what artists from DAKILA and Active Vista did.
They created a 1,260 square-foot mural on the walls of an area in Sto Niño, San Felipe, Zambales province containing the lyrics of the national anthem Lupang Hinirang and various interpretations of Filipino freedom.
3. Troop to the Chinese Embassy in Manila and condemn China’s reported war threat if the Philippines asserts its sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.
This is what activists from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan did on Monday.
4. Plant the Philippine flag within the West Philippine Sea territory while you sing Lupang Hinirang.
This is the other activity by members of DAKILA in Sitio Liwliwa, San Felipe, Zambales. The group says it is composed of artists, students, and individuals working together to creatively spark social consciousness formation towards social change.
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5. Offer flowers to Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and other national heroes who gave their lives for the country and made us enjoy the freedom we have today.
This is what public officials did at the Rizal Park in Manila led by Vice President Leni Robredo and at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City led by Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo.
WATCH NEWS5’s VIDEO REPORT ON INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION AT THE BONIFACIO MONUMENT
6. File a bill seeking to rename the Philippines with something that would help establish the Filipinos’ national identity and independence.
This is what Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano did. He introduced House Bill 5867 or An Act Constituting a Geographic Renaming Commission to Rename Our Country.
“If we want to be truly independent, then we should throw away the bonds of colonialism by establishing our own national identity. For our country to move forward, we should identify a name for our country that genuinely reflects our national aspirations, a name that signifies our values and self-determination,” said Alejano.