13 June 2014- Ambassador Victoria Bataclan, Philippine Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of the Philippine Mission to the European Union rallied Filipino community leaders towards patriotism and responsible citizenry as she addressed some 150 Filipino community leaders during the “Agahan Para sa Kalayaan,” a celebration of the 116th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence at the Philippine Embassy in Brussels, Belgium last June 8.
Reminding the assembly of the theme of the 116th anniversary celebration, “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago,” the Ambassador urged the community to contribute to the Philippine Government’s efforts to achieve irreversible and inclusive economic growth.
The “Agahan” began with the Philippine National Anthem and the “Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pilipinas” which were led by children of Embassy personnel. Prayers were offered by Fr. Luke Moortgat, a Manila-based CICM priest who is currently visiting Belgium, Pastor Vic Sornes of the Jesus Is Lord Ministry in Belgium, and Fr. Rowan Rebustillo, a Filipino priest and PhD student at the Catholic University of Leuven.
Messages from the Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and President Benigno S. Aquino III were read by Commercial Counsellor Zafrullah Masahud, Vice-Consul Ralph Vincent Abarquez and Consul General Robespierre Bolivar, respectively.
The celebration featured performances by Ms. Jessica Manalo, Champion of “The Voice” – LNW of Luxembourg; Ms. Rose Gatdula, a renowned Filipino singer in Belgium; and Douglas Nierras’ “Powerdance” troupe. The highlight of the event was a Chorale rendition by Embassy personnel, led by the Ambassador, of the songs “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika” and “Isang Dugo, Isang Lahi, Isang Musika”.
The entire assembly sang “Ako ay Pilipino” to cap the celebrations.
“Agahan sa Kalayaan” is an annual affair organized by the Embassy to serve as a kick-off ceremony of all Philippine Independence day celebrations in Belgium and Luxembourg. END