President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday led the 109th Philippine Independence Day rites, which showcased the evolution of Filipino culture and its economic progress.
The annual event was held at the Qurino Grandstand in the Luneta, where thousands of spectators, including top government officials and members of the diplomatic corps witnessed the civic-military parade.
Prior to the parade, the President announced a social payback where government workers are to start receiving across-the-board salary increases starting in July, this year.
In her brief speech, the President paid tribute to the government workers heroism in rendering loyal and dedicated service to the government even during the trying times.
The evolution of the country`s culture and economic growth was depicted at the parade that featured the Balanghay which represented the pre-hispanic-era; Kalesa during the Spanish colonization; the "Trambia" that dominated the streets in the American occupation;
The Jeepney that characterized the first years of Philippine Independence from America; and, the "eroplano," or airplane for Kalayaan 2007, symbolic of our current thrust to attain first world status, which is jet-propelled by our massive infrastructure programs and cruising on the jet stream of the country`s livelihood and Micro-Small-Medium Enterprise (MSME) programs.
The parade also showcased the physical and social infrastructure programs of government, the former through the five Super regions and the latter through the food, livelihood, health, education, and housing programs and projects of government.
The parade had five major parts, each representing a major era in our long history and symbolized by the major mode of transport of that era.
This year`s celebration of Freedom Day came at a time when the Philippines posted the highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth in the last quarter, with the peso in its strongest showing to the US dollar; net foreign direct investments up 33.5%; net foreign portfolio investment up 55% in January-April, this year; investments in the Processing Zones up 194%, creating 42,700 jobs;
With P159 Billion in MSME loans to 2.6 million borrower-entrepreneurs supporting or creating close to 1.6 million jobs; with over P3-Trillion earmarked for more than 130 major infrastructure projects for roads, ports, airports, bridges, irrigation, schools, cold storage, hospitals, etc. all these add up to hi-octane fuel for the "airplane" that should bring us to first world status.
A major component of the celebration was "Watawat ko, Iwawagayway ko," which was kicked-off by "Araw ng Watawat" or the Philippine National Flag Day on May 28. The entire month of June is flag month.
The gains of government are actually the sum-total of individual sacrifice and collective effort, from having the will to institute political and fiscal reforms, a realization that every gain has its cost, and an acceptance that the Filipinos must bear that cost collectively for the country to attain first world status
Source: www.news.balita.ph (14 Juni 2007)