California 14th District Rep. Jackie Speier has apologized for the U.S. colonization of the Philippines during the Philippine independence celebration in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“I want to pay a special tribute to all the Filipino-Americans and the Filipino nationals to say that I apologize on behalf of our country for our shabby activities during many of those years," she said.
Speier, a long time advocate of Filipino WWII veterans, continues to push for their full benefits through the Filipino Veteran Fairness Act.
Meanwhile, the Philippine flag was flown for the first time in the history of Redwood City.
San Mateo County supervisor David Canepa, who brought the tradition to Daly City four years ago, started a new one in Redwood City.
“The contributions Filipinos have made don’t span 10 years. It goes hundreds of years. And so I’m honored to be here in spirit of (Jose) Rizal," he said.
Juslyn Manalo, Filipino-American mayor of Daly City, said the act of flying the Philippine flag and acknowledging Philippine independence validates the community.
“It’s really a testament that we’ve been here as a Filipino community and they we are continuing to grow and that as an empowered community we are thriving," she said.
Consul General Henry Bensurto, meanwhile, said that with the growing population of Filipinos, he foresees a day when the entire U.S. will celebrate Philippine independence.
“One day we will have our own version of Cinco de Mayo and we will call it...'One na Kalayaan'," he said.
According to Bensurto, other cities throughout the Bay Area have also acknowledged and celebrated Philippine independence.