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Republic of the Philippines

My warmest greetings to the Filipino Cultural Heritage Society of Washington as you gather for the Annual Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival in commemoration of the 117th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence.


Wherever we are in the world, we Filipinos share a deep connection with our countrymen; a link forged by shared history, customs, and heritage. It is a bond that we continually strengthen and reinforce every time we celebrate events that are crucial to our national identity. On no other occasion is this more evident than on the 12th of June, when we commemorate the declaration of our independence and the birth of the very first democratic country in Asia. It was one of the proudest moments of our history and among the greatest achievements of our people. We shall forever be indebted to the men and women whose sacrifice now allow us to live our lives in freedom and with dignity.


As we pause to remember their deeds, let us all ponder what we can do to honor their legacy and realize their aspirations for our nation. At this juncture in our history, our task is threefold: To make permanent the gains we have achieved on the straight path, to prevent the return of the parochial and transactional brand of politics of the past, and to drown out the specter of self-doubt and negativism preventing us from reaching our fullest potential. This will require all the resolve we can muster, but as long as we are committed to these goals and perform our duties with the same dedication as our forebears, we will not only succeed, we will also prove ourselves worthy heirs and recipients of the liberty and Republic that they fought so hard to acquire and establish.


I wish you a meaningful celebration.

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