New PH envoy leads London celebration of PH independence

Carmela Fonbuena
New PH envoy leads London celebration of PH independence
The gathering at the grand Great Hall near Westminster Palace is the first big event hosted by new Philippine Ambassador Evan Garcia

LONDON, UK – It was a night of toasts to the Queen, wishes of good health to outgoing Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, and applause to Philippine cultural dance presentations.  

The Philippine embassy in London on Thursday, June 16, gathered the diplomatic and Filipino communities in the United Kingdom for the joint celebration of the 118th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence, and the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the UK. 

The gathering at the grand Great Hall located near Westminster Palace is the first big event hosted by new Philippine Ambassador Evan Garcia, former foreign undersecretary for policy. He assumed his UK post shortly before the May elections.

“We commemmorate our forebears’ victory over colonial oppression, which resulted in the establishment of Asia’s first constitutional democractic republic. Our Republic is founded on the core values of freedom, democracy, and the dignity of the human being,” said Garcia.

He said that these are values that the Philippines “deeply share with the UK.” 

“The past 70 years have seen our relations grow from strength to strength, compelled by our continuing cooperation in areas of mutal interest such as international security, respect for human rihgts, promotion of the rule of law, protection of the environment, and the broadening of economic relations,” said Garcia. 

In his speech, Her Majesty’s Marshall of the Diplomatic Corps, Alistair Harrison, recalled the 1986 People Power Revolution that ousted Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

“That example was later followed by Eastern Europe and Africa,” Harrison said. 

He also recognized the strong Filipino community in the UK and elsewhere in the world. “The Philippines is a worldwide country with a worldwide diaspora,” Harrison said. 

The night culminated in a series of Philippine independence anniversary celebrations across the UK, including a flag-raising ceremony at the Cardiff Castle in Wales on June 12. 

JUNE 12 FLAG-RAISING. The Filipino community in Wales raises the Philippine flag outside Cardiff Castle. Photo from the PH embassy Facebook page

– Rappler.com 

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