Sri Lankans in the Philippines Celebrated the Independence Day
with Firm Commitment to “National Unity “
Sri Lankans in the Philippines celebrated Sri Lanka’s 69th Anniversary of Independence with events focused thematically on National Unity and showcasing Sri Lanka’s vibrant multicultural, multi religious and multi linguistic character.
The events held at the Sri Lanka Residence in Manila were joined by a large number of Sri Lankans and friends of Sri Lanka from around the Philippines.
Following the hoisting the National Flag by the Ambassador to the accompaniment of Magul Bera, the National Anthem of Sri Lanka was sung in both Sinhala and Tamil. Two minutes silence was observed in remembrance of those who sacrifice their lives for the motherland. The messages of President, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs were read out in Sinhala, Tamil and English.
The evening event had multi-faith religious observances to invoke blessings on the country, lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the Ambassador, children, and Sri Lankans representing the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher communities. It featured the Island’s cuisine, music and dance.
In her remarks, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Manila Aruni Ranaraja pointed to the orientation of the country with the objectives of progressing economically and socially, strengthening democracy, promoting reconciliation, establishing permanent peace aimed at taking the nation forward as a progressive, modern democratic, prosperous nation where its rich ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity is well respected, celebrated and valued.
She urged all Sri Lankans in the Philippines to join hands and ”seize this historic moment in our nation’s history to contribute your strengths, goodwill, energy, skills and wisdom, to build an inclusive and prosperous nation that is reconciled and at peace so that we march forward as brothers and sisters of one family, with respect towards all, and in doing so to ensure the non-recurrence of conflict and build the Sri Lanka of our dreams as proud citizens.”
Speaking on the bilateral relationship with Philippines, Ambassador Ranaraja pointed to the significant elevation of the bilateral relationship following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations on February 2016 in Manila followed by the 1st Round of the Political Consultations in Colombo on November 2016. Also, she highlighted that Sri Lanka and Philippines have further cemented its bilateral relations with the signature of the Visa Waiver Agreement on October 2016 in Manila, signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sri Lanka-Philippines Business Council of Sri Lanka and the Philippines-Sri Lanka Business Council of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) on October 2016 and signing of the Executive Programme on Cultural Cooperation in November 2016 in Colombo.
She referred to the several sectors identified for focused cooperation including Agriculture, Education, Air Services, Tourism, Culture, Intelligence Sharing and Defence Cooperation. She pointed out to the common desire of the two countries to elevate the economic engagement by reinvigorating Trade Agreement which was signed way back in 1980. She acknowledged the role played by the Sri Lankan community in the Philippines in bringing the peoples of the two countries closer.
The evening programme concluded with a cultural performance by the Sri Lankan students at the Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation (VMUF) in Pangasinan followed by a traditional Sri Lankan dinner with a good cup of Ceylon Tea.
Embassy of Sri Lanka Manila 06 February 2017