120th INDEPENDENCE DAY – Mayor Belen T. Fernandez (6th from right), Councilor Joey Tamayo (5th from right), Councilor Jigs Seen (4th from right) and 2017 MYK young city mayor Jilian Kaye Madison Fernandez (7th from right) lead the ceremonial release of balloons and doves during the Independence Day Celebration at CSI Stadia on June 12. Also present were Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Lorna Bugayong (6th from left) and Kapuso Stars Andre Paras (5th from left) and Joyce Pring (4th from left). (CIO photo by Jojo Tamayo)

DAGUPAN CITY – In commemoration of the Filipino courage and sacrifice, the city joined the whole nation in celebrating the country’s 120th Independence Day on June 12, starting with the offering of wreaths at foot of the monument of the national hero Jose Rizal at the City Plaza.

The simple rites were led by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, Councilor Joey Tamayo and city department heads, together with officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) headed by Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Lorna Bugayong.

Also present were Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Director Melinda Buada, P/Supt. Jandale Sulit of PNP Dagupan, Fire Chief Inspector Georgian Pascua of BFP and active members of Knights of Columbus, Knights of Rizal, Masonic Lodges No. 158 and No. 56, Girl Scouts of the Philippines and Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

Afterwards, a commemorative program was held at CSI Stadia with public school teachers of the city joining. The event was held in partnership with DepEd Dagupan and GMA-7 Regional TV.

With Kapuso talents in attendance, stars André Paras and Joyce Pring led the singing of the national anthem. Contestants of the “The Clash” also performed during the program.

On the theme: “Pagbabagong Ipinaglaban Alay sa Masaganang Kinabukasan”, Mayor Fernandez, in her message, paid homage to early Filipinos’ sacrifices which paved way for the nation’s progress.

“The clamor for change didn’t happen overnight. It was born out of lesser, smaller and unsuccessful revolts and pocket rebellions across the country. But the spirit of change that early Filipinos sought and fought for was already there; the right to self determination, the inherent right to be free and the right to self government – by the Filipinos and for the Filipinos. The glorious blessing of the past is not lost on us. Today, the city joins the nation in protecting, embracing and enhancing the freedom we have won through the years.”

While the battle for the country’s independence had been won years ago, the fight against other oppressive factors still continue up to this day, Fernandez said.

 “The evils we fight are no longer foreign domination or oppressive invaders – the enemy is hopelessness, apathy, indifference and fear. Dagupenos continue to fight many oppressions taking place in any forms. We continue to wage battles against poverty, disease, ignorance, economic injustice against many evils that continue to pervade in our communities,” added Fernandez.

Fernandez also disclosed the city’s continued efforts in liberating Dagupenos from these kinds of struggles.

“We (the city of Dagupan) are winning the war today, because we have better opportunities for everyone. We have better schools and opportunities for education and training, better opportunities for employment and livelihood. We have better healthcare and infrastructures; better policies for people with disabilities and better opportunities for the old and the young. Every Dagupeno is a great Filipino at heart and it is no wonder we lead the nation in winning many battles for our country, “ added Fernandez.

Mayor Fernandez, together with 2017 MYK (Manlengkor Ya Kalangweran)  young city mayor Jilian Kaye Madison Fernandez, city councilors, and department heads and guests, led the ceremonial release of balloons and doves after the program, culminating the celebration. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)