The Philippine Embassy in Ankara commemorated the 122nd Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence on 12 June 2020 in a solemn celebration led by H.E. Ambassador Raul S. Hernandez at the Embassy grounds. With the theme “Kalayaan 2020: Tungo sa Bansang Malaya, Nagbabayanihan, at Ligtas,” the ceremony honored the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes from generations ago who fought for freedom and to this present day with Filipino frontliners caring for the country and the world in the grips of a pandemic.
The celebration while simple was significantly meaningful with the raising of the flag, the heartfelt singing of the national anthem, and the joint pledge of allegiance to the flag and the country it represents with honor, justice and freedom. It also paid tribute to the country’s proud history of solidarity and unity, with the Filipino people never failing to come together, to step up and help each other in the struggle to overcome hard times including current challenges posed by COVID-19. The members of the families of the officers and staff, many of whom have not left their homes since the lockdowns were imposed in Turkey, were in attendance.
The Independence Day messages of Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. were read by Minister and Consul General Enrique Voltaire G. Pingol and Third Secretary and Vice Consul Marc Theodore P. Benigno, respectively.
In his delivered message, H.E. Ambassador Hernandez reminded that the Philippines’ “journey as a nation is replete with heroism, with duty to country and service for fellow Filipinos and humankind.” And despite challenges posed by the present “public health crisis on a scale never before experienced in our time, Filipinos at home and overseas remain united, determined, and resilient.”
The Ambassador added that the crisis has reaffirmed the Filipinos’ strong sense of Bayanihan spirit manifested through the coordinated efforts of Filipino communities in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, who banded together to facilitate a food assistance program for fellow Filipinos who have lost jobs and income due to the pandemic. Also, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila and government authorities of Turkey, one-hundred twenty-eight (128) Filipino household workers, seafarers, students, tourists, immigrants in Turkey were successfully repatriated on a special flight from Istanbul to Manila on 10 June 2020.
During the event, Mrs. Vanesa T. Sumera, the Embassy’s Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) Officer, was awarded by the Ambassador with a Certificate of Appreciation for her outstanding performance, exemplary service, efficient and fast response to consular and ATN-related cases to ensure the welfare of our distressed Filipinos, and for her active support of the Embassy’s food assistance program and the repatriation of Filipinos from Turkey to the Philippines during this difficult and devastating pandemic. END.