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13/06/2011: VP Binay and Dinagyang Festival Group Highlight Independence Day Celebration in Washington, DC

The flag-raising ceremony in the Embassy grounds

13 June 2011, Washington DC. In commemoration of the 113th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence, the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC hosted an Independence Day program on June 12, 2011.

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay and Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. led the Embassy personnel and their families and some leaders and members of the Filipino community in a flag raising ceremony at the Embassy grounds. Guests were ushered in the Carlos P. Romulo Hall immediately after the flag ceremony for the celebration of the Mass.

In the program that ensued, the Independence Day message of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario was read. In his remarks, Ambassador Cuisia expressed gratitude to the community for their support to the Philippines and underscored the need for their continued involvement in light of the theme, Kalayaan: Paninindigan ng Bayan. Before the Ambassador ended his speech, he presented a video message of President Benigno S. Aquino III for Filipinos in the United States.

As Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns, the Vice President took the opportunity to congratulate the Filipino teachers who are serving the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in Maryland. Last month, the PGCPS rescinded its decision of making a determination on the renewal of visas of international teachers based on their certification in a critical or non critical subject area. This policy issued in March would have led to the loss of jobs of many Filipino teachers in PG County and consequently, their work visas. He thanked the volunteers in the community who supported and extended help to the teachers.

Ambassador Jose Cuisia with Vice President Jejomar Binay

The Vice President also sought the support of the community in the campaign for the proposed Philippines-US textile and garments trade bill, Save Our Industries (SAVE) Act. Vice President Binay said that if enacted, SAVE Act will strengthen textile and garments trade between the Philippines and the United States and create thousands of jobs in both countries. He also invited his fellow Filipinos to visit the Philippines soon, if possible, through the Ambassadors Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) this July.

The Dinagyang Festival group performing at the Embassy grounds.

At the Embassy grounds, the guests were treated to a lively and colorful performance of the Dinagyang Festival dancers and drummers. The Dinagyang Festival, which is held every fourth Sunday of January in Iloilo City, attracts thousands of tourists every year because of the street festival and parade that are highlighted by performances of Dinagyang tribes. The group, which travelled all the way from the Philippines, performed traditional Cordillera and Ati dances to the beat of live percussions and flute.

The festivity concluded with Filipino breakfast served to all the guests.  END