Communications Secretary Martin Andanar asked the public to take pride in being a Filipino as he enjoined them to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andanar made the statement as the government steps up its preparations for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Philippines’ role in the first circumnavigation of the world and the victory of Lapu-Lapu in the Battle of Mactan in 1521.
In his radio program over State-run Radyo Pilipinas, Andanar said celebrating the country’s national quincentennial despite the health crisis is important as it reminds the world about Filipinos and the Philippines.
“Kahit na nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya mahalagang makibahagi at makiisa sa national quincentennial commemorations (Even though we are going through a pandemic, it’s important to participate in the national quincentennial commemorations),” he said.
“Hindi lang natin inaalala ang mga pangyayari ilang daang taon na ang nakalipas, kung hindi sinasariwa natin ang pagbuo ng ating pagiging Pilipinas at ng ating pagiging Pilipino (We don’t just remember what happened over the past hundreds of years, we also celebrate the Philippines and ourselves as Filipinos),” he added.
“Pinaaalala natin sa ating sarili at pinapaalam natin sa buong mundo ang ating kuwento at ating pagkatao (We remind ourselves and we show to the world our story and our being).”
The National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) will kick off its 100-day countdown for the anniversary of the Battle of Mactan on Jan. 17. Other activities include virtual contests and seminars open to the public. The full list can be found at the NQC website.
According to Lapu-Lapu City Tourism, Historical, and Cultural Affairs Chair Cindi King Chan, the highlight of the start of the countdown is the sunset permanent hoisting of the Philippine flag in Lapu-Lapu City which has been designated as one of the few places in the country to be given such honor and privilege.
A fireworks display and a short cultural program will follow. Only key government officials will be invited and allowed to attend the event. She likewise assured that safety and health protocols will be strictly followed.
In celebrating the national quincintennial, Chan said they want the people, especially the youth or next generation, to take pride in being a Filipino.
“We already had a culture and civilization long before the Spaniards came, colonized us for centuries. We were not a bunch of savages,” she said in Andanar’s radio program.
“We were not found, you know, and we want to show that the heroism shown by our forefathers at the victory of Mactan condescends time and inspired the future Filipino generations to be leaders of change,” she added.
Chan hoped that the Philippines can control the new strain of COVID-19 and that the vaccine will be available before April 27, the D-Day set by the NQC since there are still travel restrictions being imposed.