UAE Filipinos urged to be united in fighting virus - GulfToday

UAE Filipinos urged to be united in fighting virus


A woman leaves for work wearing her mask. Kamal Kassim/ Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

June 12 (Friday) will again be another milestone for the over 109 million Filipinos in the Philippines and the over 12 million across the globe for the day marks the 122nd anniversary of their freedom from 377 years under the Spanish Empire (March 6, 1521-June 12, 1898).

Ahead of the National Day, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana and Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Paul Raymund P. Cortes on Wednesday emailed their respective messages for their kababayans (countrymen) across the UAE. Both urged them to neither shrink nor back down but be one with not only their host government and other residents, but also with other members of the community of nations against SARS-CoV2.

Ahead of the special day, 11 Filipino students including an alumna at Heriot-Watt University Dubai (HWU-Dubai)-Dennis Orlando Sangalang (Civil Engineering), Vince Delgado (Computer Science), Carmela Ebdanii (Psychology), Danielle Labrias (Electrical Engineering), Dana Martin (Chemical Engineering), Darlene Melchor (Civil Engineering Batch 2019), Denise Mora (Architectural Engineering), Jeric Mora (Accounting & Finance), Sofia Pulido (International Business Management), David Reyes (Automotive Engineering), and Christian Viernes (Foundation Year in Design)-have earned the support of the university management for their personal collaboration honouring the world’s COVID19 frontliners.

They virtually interpreted “War,” a popular song of the Metro Manila-based nine-member indie folk-pop band Ben & Ben.

Gulf Today got wound of the 11’s You Tube performance and on Wednesday, HWU-Dubai Provost and Vice Principal Ammar Kaka, in an email, enumerating the students’ names, stated: “We are extremely proud of our students who continue to raise the community spirit during these difficult times and who have paid a musical tribute to the COVID19 frontliners. Our culturally diverse student body is symbolic of the values of equality, diversity, and inclusion that are embedded into everything that we do (in our university). On behalf of the Heriot-Watt University Dubai, I would (also) like to convey our warmest wishes and congratulations to our Filipino students, staff and community on the occasion of the 122nd Philippine Independence Day.”

The musical tribute has Labrias (bass), Jeric Mora (piano) and Sangalang (ukelele/guitar/vocals). The other vocalists are Denise Mora, Viernes, Pulido, Martin, Delgado, Reyes and Melchor.

Brainchild was Sangalang who has an “aunt frontliner in the UK.”

Martin said: “With all the devastating events not only in the Philippines but in the world today, we decided that in our own little way, we come together and perform this heartfelt song that somehow portray what we are going through. We hope that with this collaboration, we display what we have been learning from our parents and our elders about the Filipino spirit of bayanihan (unity/cooperation). That even though we are young and far away from our homeland, these will not stop us from looking back to our roots, and us giving support to anyone for a better tomorrow.”

Ambassador Quintana on Wednesday wrote: “Our heroes and freedom fighters waged a long struggle to establish an independent Philippines. The 12th of June 1898 was the day when we as a nation proclaimed our will to engage with other countries of the world as equal.

“The Philippines and the rest of the world are now facing a pandemic that knows no boundary or creed. We are fighting a foe that is putting every life at risk.

“So as we commemorate the Philippine National Day, we rekindle our nation’s will once again. This time to become a true partner with all of humanity. With the indomitable spirit that marked our heroes’ fight for independence, we muster the same valor and determination to fight the pandemic. And, together with the UAE and the international community, we will overcome COVID19. The world will heal as one!”

Consul General Cortes wrote: “The pandemic now forces us to think more strategically on how our people could move on in the midst of an economically-challenged global community facing the uncertainties that this crisis brings.

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