Online celebrations mark June 12 in Canada
TORONTO, Ontario — Restrictions on mass gatherings due to the Covid 19 pandemic may have put a stop to the usual celebrations for Philippine Independence Day in the Filipino Canadian communities in Canada, but the Consulate General of the Philippines and Sentro Rizal Toronto hosted online celebrations from 9 a.m. on June 12.
The theme for the 122nd anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence is “Kalayaan 2020:Towards a Free, United, and Safe Nation (Tungo sa Bansang Malaya, Nagbabayanihan, at Ligtas).”
Begun with a virtual flag raising with the playing of the Philippine and Canadian national anthems, video messages from the Philippine ambassador to Canada, Hon. Petronila Garcia, Consul General Orontes Castro, Philippine secretary of labor and employment Hon. Silvestre Bello III and Philippine secretary of trade and industry Hon. Ramon Lopez were streamed.
Minister of Canada for immigration, refugees and citizenship, Hon. Marco Mendicino, also extended online greetings through his Twitter feed, streamed through the virtual platform of the Philippine Consulate General. Toronto councillor Josh Matlow also sent video greetings to the Filipino Canadian community.
Formal messages from Manitoba premier Hon. Brian Pallister, Toronto mayor Hon. John Tory, and member of Parliament of Canada Hon. Zalma Zahid. congratulating Filipino Canadians on the declaration of Philippine independence and for the second year of celebrating June as Filipino Heritage Month also praised Filipino front-liners who worked and who have lost their lives caring for patients during the pandemic.
Other public officials tendered their congratulations to the Filipino Canadian community as well. They include mayors Berry Vrbanovic (Kitchener), Frank Scarpitti (Markham), Maurizio Bevilacqua (Vaughan), and Brian Bowman (Winnipeg). Dr. Eileen de Villa (Toronto chief medical officer of health), Lisa Bower (councillor Ward 3, Ajax Town municipal council), Luz del Rosario (trustee, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board) also sent in their greetings.
Philippine honorary consul Ronaldo Opina of Winnipeg. Manitoba, Garry Tanuan (trustee Ward 8, Toronto Catholic District School Board), and Fr. Sherwin Holandez (chair, Toronto Organizing Committee for the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines) also sent greetings.
Twenty seven organizations in Ontario participated in the celebrations by sending messages, now posted on the Consulate General website.