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Philippines

Daly City, population 32% Filipino, raises PH flag

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Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Henry Bensurto Jr. (left) helps hoist the Philippine flag with community leader Perla Ibarrientos (right) while Mayor Ray Buenaventura looks on. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

The guests at the flag-raising ceremonies include members of the Filipino community, Daly City Hall officials and employees, and officers of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

(From left to right) community elder Perla Ibarrientos, Mayor Ray Buenaventura, ConGen Henry Bensurto Jr., Vice Mayor Glen Sylvester, Council Members Juslyn Manalo and Pam di Giovanni and representatives of Congresswoman Jackie Speier, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, State Senator Scott Weiner, and California Assembly Member Phil Ting among others. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Henry Bensurto Jr. (left) prepares to hoist the Philippine flag with community leader Perla Ibarrientos (right) while Mayor Ray Buenaventura looks on. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

For the fifth time in as many years, the Philippine flag lords it over the seat of power in Daly City where 32% of the population are Filipinos.

(From left to right) community elder Perla Ibarrientos, Mayor Ray Buenaventura, ConGen Henry Bensurto Jr., Vice Mayor Glen Sylvester, Council Members Juslyn Manalo and Pam di Giovanni and representatives of Congresswoman Jackie Speier, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, State Senator Scott Weiner, and California Assembly Member Phil Ting among others. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

Daly City Mayor Ray Buenaventura (left) turns over to ConGen Henry Bensurto Jr. (right) the proclamation of June 3, 2019 as Philippine Independence Day in Daly City.

Daly City, whose population is 32% Filipino, raises PH flag

DALY CITY, California — Philippine Independence Day celebrations started early here in the San Francisco Bay Area, even as far California’s capital city of Sacramento.

This was gathered from the Philippine Consul-General in San Francisco Henry Bensurto who proudly announced after hoisting the Philippine flag in Daly City Hall the fifth time in as many years, that he was in Vallejo on the first day of June and in Sacramento for the Pistahang Nayon the next day for their own Philippine Independence Day celebrations.

Bensurto hoisted the Philippine flag with community leader Perla Ibarrientos. Bensurto thanked the leadership and the community of Daly City for being the first to ever raise the flag in commemoration of Philippine Independence thereby honoring Filipino heritage and community.

“Every time you hoist the flag, you actually elevate the profile of the Filipino community and recognize the contributions, the value of what the Filipino community is all about in Daly City,” said the consul general.

“From then on, we have been hoisting the flag in San Jose, in Milpitas, San Mateo County Building, among others,” acknowledged Bensurto. “Each celebration shows that the Filipino community is alive, active and vibrant, a good indication that we Filipinos are no longer afraid of our identity.”

Bensurto also shared that the Philippine flag will similarly be hoisted at the San Francisco City Hall led by Mayor London Breed on June 12, the day the Philippine flag was first raised and the national anthem was first sung 121 years ago.

The guests at the flag-raising ceremonies include members of the Filipino community, Daly City Hall officials and employees, and officers of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

In an interview, Daly City Mayor Ray Buenaventiura, who was also the master of ceremonies, acknowledged that Daly City, being the first to raise the Filipino flag recognizing Philippine Independence Day, has always been very progressive, tried to think ahead and are always trying to recognize the Filipino community.

“We have such a large population [32% of residents] here and it is something wonderful for us to see. To have four council members with Filipino background shows the strength in number. It does say a lot on how our community has responded to wanting the leadership to reflect on the people in the community,” stated Buenaventura

“Filipinos are slowly but steadily increasing their visibility and their positions in government setting a good position for all of us,” Buenaventura noted, citing the examples of Rob Bonta in the California Assembly to TJ Cox in the U.S. Congress.

Vice Mayor Glenn Sylvester stated,“The thing that stood up to me in World War II was that 200,000 Filipinos fought alongside U.S. troops. And they were promised the same benefits as our veterans who are U.S. citizens but they didn’t get them. So, Congresswoman Jackie Speier created a bill so that all Filipinos who fought will get the same benefits,” Sylvester pointed out.

Sylvester also paid respect to Philippine flag by citing the significance the three stars that represents the three major islands of the country namely Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, among others.

Former Mayor and currently Daly City Council Member Juslyn Manalo said, “As one of the cities with the largest population of Filipinos, it is so important that we remember our roots and our heritage from the Philippines. Now that I have a son, it is more important me to pass on to him what our culture and our traditions are and who our historic heroes and heroines are, like Jose Rizal, Lapu Lapu, and Tandang Sora that paved the way in the Philippines.”

She added: “Here in the United States, (we have the) likes of (Filipina American) Victoria Manalo Draves, the first woman diver to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States and stories like hers are what paved the way for our community.”

The only non-Filipino member of the Daly City Council, newcomer Pam di Giovanni recalled that she has been in each and every flag raising in the last five years because she feels in her heart that she is a Filipina.

“I am Pinay because this community has always embraced me with open arms. But to be here as new council member is more humbling as ever because I know that I now represent the community and this Filipino community that is so beautiful, so accepting, so heartwarming. And I look forward for more leadership, embracing them, and bringing them in.”

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