Ambassador calls on Filipinos to support each other on I-Day

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Festival Dance that includes the ‘Panyo,’ ‘Malong,’ and ‘Tinikling’ by the Luzviminda (Luzon-Visayas-Mindanao) dancers. John Varughese/Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Philippine Ambassador Hjayceelyn M Quintana has encouraged her countrymen in the UAE to continually be selfless and be supportive of one another. Quintana amplified these values, innate to each and every Filipino, when she keynoted the 124th Philippine Independence Day celebrations on Saturday at the Zabeel Hall 2 of the Dubai World Trade centre.

The celebrations that commemorated the nation-hood of the Philippines from three centuries of Spanish rule until 1898 was organised by the Filipino Social Club (FilSoC).Distinguished guests from the UAE that also participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the official start of the event at 10:30am, were Community Development Authority-Dubai (CDA-Dubai) Inspection Monitoring head Sahid Majid Al Mohairi, CDA-Dubai Media consultant Ali Shidon, Mohammed Bin Rashid centre for Islamic Culture-Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department (MBRCIC-IACAD)-Cultural Interaction head Rowayyah Al Kithbi, MBRCIC-IACAD-Cultural Interaction executive Buthaina Al Subousi, MBRC-IACAD-Cultural Activities senior executive Jaweed Al Khatib, MBRCIC-IACAD-Cultural Activities executive Soliman Gao and St Mary’s Catholic Church Filipino priest Fr Leny Escalada, OFMcap.

In encouraging her fellow Filipinos to selflessness, Quintana, who delivered her speech in the Filipino language with a few English words, juxtaposed their lives with those of their national hero, Dr Jose P Rizal who died by musketry on Dec.30, 1896 by Filipinos chosen the Spanish Government and Philippine-American War (Feb.4, 1899 to June 15, 1913) General Gregorio del Pilar who shot to death at the Battle of Tirad Pass in Ilocos Sur province.

Quintana also used the “counter-factual” method, an educator uses in encouraging his students and other audience in understanding history more insightfully for a much better perspective. “For instance, if Rizal craved more for his self-aggrandisement and self-glorification and did not have the courage to write (the two novels of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo among other writings satirising the atrocities of Spanish friars and authorities against his fellow Filipinos) would the Philippines ever attain its freedom from the abusive colonizers.

Probably he and his clan including their descendants until this day would have lived and be living in ultra-comfort and style; their probably inter-generational business enterprises among the huge companies in the Philippines.” “For instance, if General Gregorio del Pilar popularly known as Heneral Goyong who was excellent in the Sciences and Mathematics did not opt to serve his country, this man who was to pursue post-graduate studies could have made a name and have been recognised overseas.”

Relating to the formation of the FilSoC three years back and since then has been the accredited umbrella organisation by the CDA-Dubai, Quintana mentioned that this would be non-existent if not for those who chose to carry on the responsibility and faced the challenges completing the requirements; and, if not for those who believed and supported them.

“There can never be a solo effort. It would always be and has to be a concerted effort. Being selfless and being supportive of one another is the only way all of us Filipinos can achieve our goals and achieve greater heights; even raise our image in the international arena, as we are also being encouraged by other individuals outside of our community.

I encourage you to choose selflessness. For me, selflessness is heroism,” Quintana said. In his speech, Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Renato Duenas Jr connected the trials of the times with the Philippine Independence Day 2022 theme of “Pag-suong sa Hamon ng Panibagong Bukas” (“Rise Towards the Challenge of a New Beginning”).

He cited how the UAE is a model in addressing problems like the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasised that “even in the (worst of tests that may come our way), we encourage you to remember three things: unity, friendship, and cooperation.”

On the sidelines, Gulf Today asked CDA-Inspection Monitoring head Al Mohairi with regards the body’s meeting with representatives of over 100 Filipino organisations in Dubai and the Northern Emirates three weeks back: “It was three weeks back when we met with them.

Since the FilSoc is the umbrella organisation of all Filipino organisations, these organisations must register themselves under the FilSoc so they would be licensed and be (given the green light) to host events. 

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