With grey clouds hovering over the city, and a gentle wind rustling the leaves, the Philippine flag had been hoisted at City Hall while Arnold Tongol poetically sung the National Anthem, as guests, some leaders and member organizations representatives silently, on standstill, quietly murmured the lyrics, thus, the sheer feeling of patriotism has been the narrative in the 119th Philippine Independence celebration.
Hosted by the City of Winnipeg led by Mayor Brian Bowman, the annual ritual is sponsored by the Manitoba Council of Canadian Filipino Associations (MaCFFA) led by Letty Duque Antonio, the president.
Letty Duque Antonio, president of MaCCFA says: “ The 119th Independence celebration in the City of Winnipeg is one that we have in our hearts as immigrants to this peaceful country. Let us remember the freedom fighters who persevered to make our Philippines a free country. Let us all unite and work together as one community with love and care for one another.
Gem Anis, former Governor of the Batangas Association of Manitoba, delivered his address, and he says: “The Philippines has travelled a long and rocky road to freedom – experiencing, enduring and surviving colonial imperialism for almost four centuries under Spain, the United States and Japan. And by the grace of God our country became a sovereign independent nation – nation of freedom-loving and hardworking people. On this 119th year celebration of Philippine Independence it is appropriate to make special recognition to the more than 700,000 Filipino-Canadians and thank them for the role, big or small, in contributing and giving colour to the cultural, social, economic, and political landscape of our adopted country, province and city. And during these sometimes uncertain and dangerous times we hope and pray that political stability, economic prosperity, peace and security reign and prevail in our native land.
Provincial government is represented by MLAs Jon Reyes, James Bateman, Andrew Smith, Wab Kinew, Ron Schuler and the newly elected MLA Bernardette Smith. From the City, Councillors Mike Pagtakhan, Cindy Gilroy and Devi Sharma participated in the ceremony.
Representatives from the various organizations attended the celebration.