Friday, June 13, 2014

Breathe, enjoy ‘air of freedom’ in the nation

From the Website of INQUIRER

Breathe, enjoy ‘air of freedom’ in the nation

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines—In his speech at the 116th Independence Day celebration here, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said that just like what Filipino revolutionaries had experienced, the path the Philippines is taking in its territorial dispute with China is “full of apprehension and uncertainty.”

“We are a small country, we do not have adequate resources, and we cannot anticipate the consequences of our decisions,” Jardeleza said in a speech read for him by Assistant Solicitor General Karl Miranda.

The Philippines has submitted its dispute with China to the United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for arbitration.

The court has ordered China to comment on the Philippine case by Dec. 15, but China has refused to take part in the proceedings.

Protest against China

Members of the party-list group Akbayan protested at the Chinese Embassy in Manila on Thursday to assert Philippine sovereignty over the disputed islands as part of the observance of Independence Day.

“We have continued to assert that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China has no right on any of the islands it is claiming in the West Philippine Sea,” Jardeleza said.
China’s obligation

He said China could not continue to disregard the case in the UN arbitral tribunal because it had obligations under international law.

“China’s hard stance is just temporary. It won’t be long and we just have to wait patiently. As a country belonging to the community of nations, it has to fulfill its obligations to maintain its reputation and good standing,” he said.

Jardeleza said that despite its small size and inadequate resources, the Philippines accepts the challenge of protecting what has been handed down to it by its ancestors and heroes.

“In these modern times, we will continue to advance in a peaceful manner our being Filipinos, to be proud of our race and assert our rights,” he said.
Baguio City

In Baguio City, the custodian of the original Philippine flag said the banner stood as a surviving Filipino symbol against growing territorial aggression.

Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay III, the great-grandson of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Philippine Republic, said the tattered flag, which his grandmother found tucked in Aguinaldo’s deathbed, “reminds us that we are more than capable of surviving and defeating the odds no matter how they appear stacked against us.”

The flag was put on display on Thursday at Emilio Aguinaldo Museum, which opened its doors to visitors for Independence Day.

The flag is sealed in a glass case and is protected from the intense light and heat.

In Bulacan province, Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino, who spoke at the Independence Day celebration at Barasoain Church, said the Malolos Constitution made a simple point about the country’s territory.

“The political association of all Filipinos constitutes a nation, whose state shall be known as the Philippine Republic,” Tolentino said.

“We do not need to write or draw the shape and brilliance of the Philippines’ territory, which we acquired through our heroes’ fight for sovereignty, because it is in our hearts and soul,” he said.

In Angeles City, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan led the Independence Day celebration at Pamintuan Mansion where Aguinaldo led the first anniversary of the first Philippine Republic on June 12, 1899. It was at the mansion where Aguinaldo declared war against the new colonizer, the United States.
Pamintuan hailed the roles played by ordinary citizens in “making democracy real and true.”
“You are at the front lines of our war against poverty and our rising from it shall make us truly independent,” he said.

In the Pampanga capital of San Fernando, Mayor Edwin Santiago marched with private-sector leaders on the city proper despite the rain.

Echoing a character in a novel of Dr. Jose Rizal, Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez said that “in the midst of calamities, scandals and problems our country and each of us confront, let us all not forget that we breathe this air of freedom because of those ‘who fell in the middle of night,’ not minding the cost to themselves and loved ones.”

At SM City Pampanga, students prepared a 135-kilogram bibingka (native rice cake) in the colors of the Philippine flag for Independence Day.

The bibingka, measuring 4 by 4 meters, was served in bite sizes to shoppers.

In Zambales province, the provincial government held a job fair in Castillejos town as part of Independence Day celebrations.

Reynante Lugtu, head of the provincial office of the Department of Labor and Employment, said companies seeking to fill local jobs and recruitment firms looking for workers to deploy abroad took part in the job fair.

More than 2,000 local and overseas jobs were offered.–Reports from Gabriel Cardinoza and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon, and Tonette Orejas, Carmela Reyes-Estrope and Allan Macatuno, Inquirer Central Luzon, and AP




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