DILG Pampanga personnel, under the leadership of Provincial Director Angelina S. Blanco, joined the City Government of San Fernando during the biggest-ever Independence Day Celebration last June 12, 2012, reaching a record of over 5,000 individuals from various local, regional and national organizations and sectoral groups – who marched in high spirits from City Hall to Heroes Park where wreath-laying ceremonies honored the country’s foremost heroes.
City Mayor Oscar S. Rodriguez urged Fernandinos not to lose sight of their common responsibility towards attaining the objectives and fruits of good governance that benefit all and not just a few, pointing out the theme of this year’s commemoration, “Kalayaan: Pananagutan ng Bayan para sa Tuwid na Daan.” It marked the 114th anniversary of the Philippine independence from three centuries of Spanish rule.
“We owe our brave heroes the freedom that we now enjoy,” Mayor Oca said. “Let us not waver in honoring them and in defending the independence that now allows us to attain our aspirations.”
Together with Vice Mayor Edwin Santiago and the rest of the officials of the city administration, Mayor Oca launched the day’s activities at 6 a.m. with the ceremonial raising of the Philippine flag.
Vice Mayor Santiago said that Fernandinos should value independence and “always bear in mind the noble acts of our heroes.” He said that the people should be free from the ill-effects of poverty to become “excellent citizens.”
Sought for comments, Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham) chairman Rene Romero said there was need to “continue supporting the people [in terms of] employment that would make them feel that they enjoy their independence from hardships.
“One cannot claim that one is truly independent and free if one is still not free from poverty,” Romero stressed.
PamCham’s contribution in celebrating the Independence Day annually, Romero said, is to create jobs for the people by expanding businesses. The group, according to him, is also inviting local and foreign investors to set up industries locally.
Romero said that “the modern day heroes of today, the OFWs, should also be given recognition for their contributions in the progress of the economy.”
Among the most active participants in the day’s celebration was the Muslim community in San Fernando. A colorful float representing Muslim culture was one of the widely applauded features at the parade.
Muslim community secretary and spokesperson Samad Zacharia said that the group regards this celebration as “an important event in the history of the country and our community.” The June 12 event is “an appreciation of the independence that we now enjoy,” he added.
In the evening, Mayor Oca hosted the annual Independence Day Banquet, which was attended by different representatives from government, religious groups and the private sector.
Mayor Oca said in an interview that “we should fight for freedom from want, freedom from illiteracy and freedom from extreme deprivation before we can confidently say that we are free.”
“Here in the City, we are addressing these needs simultaneously because we believe that this is the key towards a better life. We are again pleased to celebrate with our cabalens this year in this important gathering,” he said.
The night ended with an impressive fireworks display at the Heroes Hall Park.