Philippine Independence Day Parade Marks 120 Years

Dinagyang dancers from Iloilo City, Philippines, perform “warriors’ tribal dance.” (Photo by RJ Ensalada via Philippine Daily Mirror)

The 28th iteration of the the Philippine Independence Day Parade, held on June 3, marked the country’s 120th year of independence from Spain. Under this year’s theme of “Honoring Our Heroes – Inspiring Solidarity Among Us All,” some 85 community groups marched on Madison Avenue, according to parade organizer Philippine Independence Day Council (PIDCI). This included the Malaya Movement, a coalition that speaks out against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, as well as a pro-Duterte contingent.

In covering the parade, Philippine Daily Mirror’s Ricky Rillera noted that PIDCI was sued in November over disputed elections a month earlier to choose the president and board members. The case was dismissed just four days before the parade.

There was also a “visibily noticeable” absence of celebrities and big names from the Philippines this year.

Most people assumed this was a result of a negative campaign launched by a few people dissuading the community from participating in the celebration. They also pointed out PIDCI’s predicament to raise funds following the revocation of its 501-c3 tax exempt status which was a central issue before the elections in October 2017.

Juliet Payabyab, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, told Philippine Daily Mirror “there was less crowd, less food vendors, less marchers vs. over a hundred contingent in the past.”

Meanwhile, PIDCI President Ner Martinez, who won the election in the fall, said: “This year’s celebration was with purpose and substance. It may have been with less fanfare but the seriousness of a community spirit and pride was obviously evident.”

Read more and see photos and videos of a warrior tribal dance and a dance performed with bushels of mangoes, as well as on the anti- and pro-Duterte contingents, at Philippine Daily Mirror and Balitang America. The latter noted that this parade is the largest independence day parade outside of the Philippines.

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