Kalayaan 2014












18 July 2014 – The Philippine Embassy in Abuja joined the Filipino community’s celebration of the 116th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, held at the residence of Filipino community President Fleurdeliz Atrib in the compound of the renowned Cactus Restaurant in Victoria Island, Lagos on June 08.

The celebration started with a thanksgiving mass concelebrated by Filipino Franciscan missionaries Rev. Fr. Alphonse Marin Salazar and Fr. Frederick Marcos.  Fr. Alphonse exhorted the Filipino community to emulate the example of the great Filipino heroes, to whom the country owes the freedom and prosperity it now enjoys.

After the Mass, Philippine Ambassador to Nigeria Alex Lamadrid  officiated the induction of the officers of the newly renamed Filipino Association in Lagos (FAL) - formerly known as the Philippine Barangay Society Nigeria. Officers and members of the Board of Trustees, as well as the association’s Advisers, were also presented to the community.

In her remarks, FAL President Fleurdeliz Atrib expressed appreciation to the Filipino community and their Nigerian and foreign friends for the cooperation extended to the association, especially in the association’s many projects for distressed Filipinos in Lagos, and in their charity projects both for Filipinos in the Philippines as well as for beneficiaries in the host country Nigeria. Mrs. Atrib cited the association’s activities and achievements in the past year, which included the fund-raising done by the association for the benefit of victims of typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda, distribution of at least 12 fishing boats and an  ambulance/emergency boat to affected communities in Iloilo, distribution of food packs, clothes, bags, books and school supplies to typhoon victims;  the assistance extended to victims of the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu; and the ongoing scholarship grants to needy Nigerian children in the Immaculate Mediatrix school run in the outskirts of Lagos by the Filipino Franciscan priests.

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Mrs. Atrib also noted the active participation of the Filipino community in the annual “Small World,” the largest charity event of the international community in Nigeria. For the past several years, the Filipino community in Lagos has participated in the Small World through the performance of typical Philippine dances and setting up of a booth offering Filipino food to the visitors. In the past, FAL’s predecessor PBSN was able to support the Kirikiri Initiative, a school for underprivileged children in the outskirts of Lagos, through funds raised during the Small World. In recent years, the Filipino community has supported the orphanage run by Filipino nuns of the Franciscan Sisters of Charity.

In his Independence Day message, Ambassador Alex Lamadrid conveyed the greetings of President Benigno S. Aquino III to all Filipinos on the occasion of the Philippine Independence Day. He noted the economic and social gains made by the Aquino administration, anchored in the principles of transparency, efficiency, good governance and the unrelenting fight against corruption. Ambassador Lamadrid congratulated the newly-inducted officers of the Filipino Association in Lagos, and commended them for their many projects benefiting Filipinos and Nigerians alike, especially their efforts to raise funds for the victims of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

Ambassador Lamadrid also exhorted them to plan for the long-term and to save and invest their hard-earned money in the Philippines in order to prepare for their eventual retirement. He also informed the Filipino community of the many services offered by the Philippine Embassy particularly in promoting financial literacy among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The Philippine Ambassador likewise reminded the OFWs to protect themselves against the various health risks which are prevalent in West Africa, particularly HIV/AIDS, malaria, polio, Ebola virus, and MERS-CoV for those who transit via the Middle East.

The Embassy team composed of Ambassador Alex Lamadrid and ATN Officer Raymund Ondiano processed applications for electronic passports, overseas voters registration, and extended counseling to OFWs with various concerns.

The celebration also featured the recognition of distinguished members of the Filipino community and the distribution of certificates of appreciation for significant contributions to the association.

The celebration was capped by the cutting of the Philippine Independence Day cake by Ambassador Lamadrid with the assistance of FAL officers. Karaoke singing and dancing were enjoyed by the OFWs until the late evening hours.

More than 200 OFWs, mostly professionals in the oil and gas sector, manufacturing, construction and other service industries, attended the celebration.  END

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