Phil-American Friendship Day Today

( [email protected] ) Jul 05, 2003 04:25 PM EDT

Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople said the friendship between the Philippines and the United States has benefited the security of both countries as they mark today the Philippine American Friendship Day and the 227th anniversary of US Independence, respectively.

Ople noted the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 has inspired all colonized countries to fight for their independence. This led to the founding of the first Philippine Reublic in Malolos, Bulacan in 1898 and finally, to the decolonization of Asia.

"True to their origins, the American people led the successful struggle against Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism, and Soviet communism in our own era, and is now leading the global coalition against terrorism in all its forms," Ople said.

Ople also lauded the American leadership as exemplified by US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Philippine-American Friendship Day was celebrated with both countries looking forward to continuing cooperation, friendship, and partnership.

No formal program has been prepared for the occasion by the Philippine government as today is also the Independence Day of the United States.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Francis Joseph Ricciardone said the US embassy in the country was closed but for the Filipinos, July 4 was a full working day, according to presidential chief of staff Rigoberto Tiglao.

The United and the Philippines used to celebrate their respective Independence Days on July 4. But the administration of the late President Diosdado Macapagal, father of President Arroyo, declared June 12 as Philippine Independence Day, to commemorate the proclamation of independence by President Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898.

The Philippine government then declared July 4 Philippine-American Friendship Day.