Today, June 12, marks the 119th anniversary of Philippine Independence. As of late, encounters between a terrorist group and the government forces continue in some areas within Marawi City in the province of Lanao del Sur.
The government had recovered some parts of the city where the insurgents once gained a foothold. Stranded residents were rescued and ferried to safety. The Philippine flags were even raised in those places to signify they were reclaimed. Even the city’s municipal hall was not spared from the siege, with bullet shots inside the building and fortunately, was not taken over by the group. This day, the Philippine flag was hoisted there, with the local leaders and municipal workers in attendance. In the midst of the ceremony, the nearby sound of gun shots and bombings was still heard.
For most Filipinos, the celebration is disheartening because many are in pain, crying and dying. But even in this time when people are seemingly hopeless as the country continues to experience unrest and problems, this is a sign of triumph. For the first time, those who attended the nationwide flag-raising events, particularly the soldiers, felt the true meaning of this celebration. Defenders who put their lives to serve this country and who could not find any answer as to why men are killing each other, countrymen against their own fellows. Something they should not be doing.
This may not yet be a big victory like in movies where all villains perish. But this is a step. A triumphant step from all that hinders the Filipinos to achieve true freedom and peace. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
(Featured image taken from news.abs-cbn.com. Video footage taken from DU30 Social Media youtube account)