Staff of the Philippine Consulate General Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Continue to be a positive force and take pride in what you do for society, Filipinos in the UAE were told on Tuesday as they marked their 120th Independence Day.

The Philippines gained its independence on June 12, 1898 after 333 years of Spanish colonial rule.

In Dubai, Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes led the ceremony at the consulate grounds attended by members of the Filipino community. They also pledged their allegiance to the flag.

Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes addressing the community. Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

A flag-hoisting ceremony was also held in Abu Dhabi led by Vice-Consul Rowena Daquipil, acting head of mission in the capital.

Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in a message, said this historic day forms the foundation of the liberties all Filipinos enjoy today.

“Through the patriotic fervour shown by our forefathers, we have freed ourselves from colonial subjugation and proved to the world that we stand united as the pioneer of republican democracy in Asia,” Duterte said in a speech read by Deputy Consul-General Renato Duenas Jr.

“May the solidarity and heroism exhibited by our ancestors fuel our desire to spur meaningful and lasting change in our communities …” he added.

During the short ceremony on Tuesday morning, Cortes encouraged the 800,000 Filipinos who are living and working in the UAE to continue excelling and contributing positively to society.

Filipino expatriates to celebrate the Independence Day of the Philippines at Philippine Consulate General Dubai. Gulf News Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

“We’re grateful that this country has welcomed us as family along with other ethnicities and nationalities on seeking to find their potential, opportunities that would define them as professionals skilled workers, semi-skilled workers, and all those contributing not only to the Emirati families but to the entire UAE community,” Cortes said.

“Wherever the Filipino is, we are a positive force and we will remain to be a positive force for so long as each and every one of us are able to inculcate in ourselves what the repute of the Filipino is all about. We’ve cared for their sick. We’ve taught their children, we’ve laid the foundations of a happy home for many UAE families, and this I believe is one of the many important contributions of the Filipinos not only to the UAE but also to the world. It’s something to take pride in,” Cortes said.

Cortes urged Filipinos to work together with the consulate, which was recently awarded as the Best Organisation by Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs, to serve the community. The consulate in Dubai is the largest Philippine mission as far as consular services are concerned.

“Together, there is so much that can be achieved. There is so much that the Filipino community and consulate can do hand in hand so it does not end with the consulate being the best organisation but I dream that the Filipino community will become the best Filipino community in the world,” he said.

A grand celebration dedicated to the community will be held on Friday. The free-admission event will begin with a motorcade from the consulate at 9am to the Dubai World Trade Centre, covering 22km.

A job fair is also being organised for nurses and teachers who will be hired on the spot to work in hospitals in the US.

The daylong event includes a beauty pageant, a hip-hop dance competition, a battle of the bands, a fruit, vegetable and chocolate carving competition, and others.

Details

WHAT: 120th Philippine Independence Day community celebration|
WHERE: Dubai World Trade Centre
WHEN: June 15