The 2020 Philippine Independence Day’s simpler rites showcase Filipino discipline that will be key to fighting COVID-19 much like how the country’s revolutionary heroes won the battle against Spain, says National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ (NHCP) Emmanuel F. Calairo.
In an exclusive interview with Good News Pilipinas at the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, site of the 1898 Proclamation of Philippine Independence, NHCP Commissioner Manny Calairo shared his views on the national experience of June 12, 2020.
Dr. Calairo, a historian and adopted son of Cavite, was one of the select guests of the Independence Day program in Kawit that has been turned into simple rites of flag-raising and wreath-laying without the usual fanfare and festive events that accompany the annual commemoration.
The Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine, the home of President Emilio Aguinaldo that has been turned into an NHCP Museum, is usually filled with high-profile guests and members of the Aguinaldo clan on June 12. This year, the hall leading to the balcony where the flag was raised was practically empty except for the key figures of the national program who strictly followed health and safety protocols of the community quarantine to stop the spread of coronavirus disease.
Calairo, the former dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication at De La Salle University-Dasmariñas and newly-appointed NHCP commissioner, said the simple rites are part of the national initiative to protect people from COVID-19 by observing social distancing and wearing masks, and doing without the usual crowds, parade, and bands.
The Kawit ceremonies involved a maximum of 10 guests limited to Kawit Mayor Angelo Emilio Aguinaldo, representatives of Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla and Congressman Francis Gerald Aguinaldo Abaya, Rev. Father Reinier Dumaop of the centuries-old church of Saint Mary Magdalene Parish in Kawit, police and armed forces directors, Good News Pilipinas Managing Editor Aurora Quadra Balibay who emceed the national program, Dr. Calairo, and Alvin Alcid, the NHCP Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Projects and Division Chief for Research Publications and Heraldry.
Everyone in the vicinity – guests, workers, armed forces, and media – wore the official NHCP “Magiting” face mask which bore the likeness of the elements of the Philippine flag. Alcid shares that the NHCP artist designed the face mask for use in official functions following guidelines of the community quarantine. Two designs were created – with one inspired by patterns of indigenous fabric – and shared with groups like the Ayala Foundation.
There were no crowds witnessing the program at the Freedom Park fronting the Aguinaldo shrine and instead, the public viewed the proceedings via NHCP online here and Kawit LGU Facebook Live feed and the media reports about the Kawit event.
Similar experiences were witnessed in the various sites of the June 12 celebrations across the country and around the world.
“Discipline ang online celebrations as of this time. We hope this is only the time, next time wall na nito. So let us enjoy the online events, para di na problemado,” the NHCP official said.
Asked how history would view the 2020 Independence Day commemorations, Commissioner Calairo said, “50 years after babalikan ko siya, you will see that Filipinos are really disciplined. Sinabi ng government, nag-agree and agencies and implemented policies – this is a symbol of national discipline.”
“Discipline is the basic value, wear mask, social distancing, stay home – the policies now require discipline to prevent COVID 19 infection,” Calairo added.
The NHCP official affirmed the correctness of dedicating June 12 to frontliners. “Bagong bayani. Like before, our heroes were at the forefront of battle and likewise today, the frontliners are at the forefront of serving our people in the time of the pandemic.”
“Imagine these persons helping our communities, sacrificing their time, and of course their lives – buwis-buhay kung di mo sundin ang protocols, so we really have to dedicate our commemoration to our frontliners,” said Calairo, who was also the guest of honor at the May 28 Flag Day celebrations in Imus, Cavite.
SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the teams behind the Philippine Independence Day 2020 rites as they showcase Filipino discipline that is key to fighting COVID 19.
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