Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. commended Filipinos abroad, assuring them of the Department of Foreign Affairs’s (DFA’s) quality service as the country commemorated the 123rd Independence Day on Saturday.
In a video message, Locsin commended Filipinos overseas for doing what they are best known for– “selfless service and gentle nurture so desperately needed” amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“During this pandemic, the Filipino diaspora has contributed much to the world in keeping besieged healthcare systems afloat, especially in the most advanced countries; in manning maritime vessels key to trade and commerce; and in running critical infrastructure of many countries,” he said.
Part of the solution
Locsin said Filipinos will surely be part of the solution to the ongoing health crisis.
“I cannot say for certain that normalcy will be completely restored, but I believe that down the dark tunnel, the global situation will improve and the Filipino diaspora is part of the light at the end of it,” he said.
“Pandemic or not, this is the best time to be Filipino,” he added.
The country’s top diplomat pointed out that Filipino healthcare workers are the country’s best and most credible ambassadors of goodwill.
“They don’t just avow saving lives, they do it,” he said.
“The Filipinos’ dominant global helping presence single-handedly vindicated our push for receiving countries to adopt the global compact for safe, orderly, and regular migration,” he added.
Locsin recalled the time when he was in the United Nations where some countries expressed reservations over the global compact but now see the Filipino as essential to their recovery.
“They cannot heal without you. The global Filipino has redefined to a higher level what it means to be an essential worker,” he said.
Locsin assured Filipinos abroad of the DFA’s commitment to advance their welfare. He said the agency has always been ready to assist Filipinos who are in need.
“I cannot convey enough of my deep respect for you. Our esteem will always go hand in hand with our commitment to extend fast, responsive, and quality service through our embassies, missions, and consulates abroad,” he said.
“No matter where you are if you are at grave risk, you can count on the DFA to leave no one behind. That is our blood compact with overseas Filipinos. If we have to suture our cell phones to our ears and our fingers to the keyboard,” he added.
Independence Day celebration
Meanwhile, Locsin lamented how Filipinos abroad will not able to celebrate Independence Day anew because of the pandemic, saying this used to be one thing Filipinos look forward to every year.
He recalled in 2018 when Filipinos celebrated Independence Day with a parade along Madison Avenue in New York. He said, tens of thousands of Filipinos flocked to Manhattan to be part of the “fiesta grande” and danced the day away.
“Whatever Filipinos may be in the world– in New York, London, Dubai, Melbourne, Tokyo, Egypt, and many other places– June 12 will always be our special day,” he said.
“We get together eat Filipino food, indulge in familiar joys– Pinoy music, art, film, dance, stories that, for a day, take us back home,” he added.
Locsin said this year’s celebrations may be subdued but the DFA, together with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will bring the celebration to them, virtually, through the Fiesta Filipina series.
The DFA likewise decided to hold an online independence day concert entitled “Lessons for a Changed World,” a virtual room with a view on the way of life of our indigenous peoples. Each foreign post was also mounting its own virtual celebrations.
“As we heal together, let us celebrate our nationhood together. And if we cannot do it physically, DFA will bring all this to you in your homes,” Locsin said.