Philippine Independence Day was a chance to highlight HK-Philippine connections, the protection of domestic helpers from abuse, and ASEAN trade deals.
The Filipino community joined Hong Kong officials and ASEAN and government officials on Tuesday night to celebrate the 12 June 1898 Proclamation of the Independence of the Philippines.
Consul General Bernardita L. Catalla used the occasion to speak on connections between Hong Kong and the Philippines, bilateral relations, ASEAN relations and the prospects of the country under the new president, Rodrigo Duterte.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (林鄭月娥), Chief Secretary for Administration was the keynote speaker. She spoke of the bilateral relationship and the many contributions of Filipinos to Hong Kong’s development, steering clear of talk of the tempestuous relationship of Manila and Beijing.
Gregory So Kam-leung (蘇錦樑), Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, and Matthew Cheung Kin-chung (張建宗), Secretary for Labour and Welfare also attended the event. Cheung in particular was singled out as a “super-protector” of domestic helpers.
Consul Generals from Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Russia, Argentina, and Angola represented the global diplomatic community along with the honorary vice-consul of Niger. The Deputy Commissioner Song Ru’an of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also attended, along with Rafael Aharoni, Chair of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce.
The large consular team and the broader Philippine community wore their national garb and displayed the famous hospitality for which The Philippines is known.