By Don Tagala , ABS-CBN North America Bureau
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. marked the 116th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence by highlighting the strength of the US-Philippines alliance last Sunday.
Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. proposed a toast during Philippine Independence Day reception at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
He said, “To the happiness and prosperity of the people of the Philippines and the people of the United States and enduring alliance and friendship between our two countries. The spirit of peace, independence, freedom and democracy. Mabuhay. Cheers.”
Cuisia says President Obama’s recent visit and show of support for the Philippines is a manifestation of this long standing friendship.
“We will always remember President Obama’s reiterations of the US’ iron clad commitment in a statement that — and I quote — ‘Allies never stand alone,’” Cuisia told a crowd at the reception.
US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel cited that the long standing friendship between the two allies is based on democratic values, shared prosperity, mutual interests, intertwined history, and close people-to-people ties.
Russel also said that the oldest security alliance in Asia is now even stronger with the recently signed Defense Cooperation Agreement.
“The bottom line is, as President Obama said: Friends are there for each other and the Philippines has many friends,” Russel said. “As President Obama said we will stand with you in the spirit of bayanihan to create a more prosperous future for both of our people.”
The Embassy of the Philippines also paid tribute to those who extended help to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.
Armless pilot Jessica Cox and entertainer Apl.de.Ap were recognized for donating their time and resources to help in the recovery efforts in the devastated areas.
Cox received a plaque of achievement for her excellence in motivational speaking and her advocacies for the disabled.
She has partnered with Handicap International to help those who were disabled during Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation.
Cox said, “They (Handicap International) are really the ones who should be honored and all that they have gone through and the fact that they are resilient and they inspire me.”
Allan Pineda Lindo, more popularly known as Apl.de.Ap of the group Black Eyed Peas, was presented with a plaque of achievement for his contributions in raising the profile of Filipinos and the Philippines in the US.
His philanthropic work in the Eastern Visayas in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda was also recognized. Apl.de.Ap is scheduled to conduct music and arts camp for children in the affected areas.
Apl.de.Ap said, “It gives me a great deal of motivation to keep doing what I’m doing. To give the youth of the Philippines a chance to compete against the world through education, music and technology. So very honored to be here and for the recognition.”
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