Philippines Celebrates Its 126th Independence Day In Jakarta – OpEd


The Embassy of the Philippines in Jakarta has organized a big reception on June 12 at the St. Regis Hotel in Jakarta to celebrate the 126th anniversary of the Philippines proclamation of independence.

Filipinos living in Indonesia, senior officials from various Indonesian ministries, diplomatic corps, representatives of ASEAN and public figures attended the joyful reception.

This year is also a special year for both Indonesia and the Philippines. Both countries are celebrating this year the 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations. Both established their diplomatic relations on Nov. 24, 1949.

The governments of Indonesia and the Philippines intensified bilateral ties in economy, politics, and security as well as in strengthening the region during the 75th year anniversary commemoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sent a video message in Tagalog language to the reception congratulating all Filipinos on 126th anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine independence.

“As we continue to fight for independence. Independence in different aspects of our being Filipinos, but more than this independence in our territory, our sovereignty,” the Associated Press reported quoting Marcos Jr. as saying in his message.  

This year’s main theme of the Independence Day celebrations was “Kelayaan (Freedom), Kinabukasan (Tomorrow), Kesaysayan (History)”. 

In Jakarta celebration, Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi sent their special video messages to the audience.

“I wish to greet all Filipinos overseas on the occasion of the 126th anniversary of the proclamation of our country’s independence,” Manalo said in his message.

Retno congratulated all the Filipinos and reminded them about the 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

In her welcoming address, Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Gina A. Jamoralin appreciated the growing strong relations with Indonesia.

“Our President Marcos Jr. visited Indonesia in September 2022 just after his inauguration as Philippine President. Last year, he visited Indonesia two times to attend ASEAN Summits. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited the Philippines in January 2024. Our bilateral relations are growing very strong,” Ambassador Gina said.

It was Marcos Jr.’s first foreign visit (to Indonesia) as President of the Philippines. It was Jokowi’s first foreign trip (to the Philippines) this year.

Gina also congratulated all Indonesians for successfully holding general elections.

“We congratulate Indonesia for successfully holding the elections this year,” Gina said.

Last year, the bilateral trade between Indonesia and the Philippines reached US$12.55 billion, a slightly lower than bilateral trade of $14.39 billion in 2022.

The Philippines is a major export destination for Indonesia. Indonesia mainly exports coal, palm oil, rubber, paper, tea, coffee and other consumer goods to the Philippines.

There are so many similarities in culture and languages between Indonesia and the Philippines.

The chief guest at the Philippine National Day was Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar. She congratulated the Filipinos on their National Day.

“Indonesia wants to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Philippines,” Nurbaya said in her speech.

There was a spectacular music show by Filipino musicians. There were also so many attractive prizes in the lucky draw. The event was ended with a delicious Philippine dinner.

Both Indonesia and the Philippines are not only archipelagic countries but also maritime neighbours. The Philippines always considers Indonesia as a strategic partner.

Indonesia and the Philippines can promote regional maritime cooperation in the wider Indo-Pacific region and help establish maritime rules-based norms and the interoperability of various navies in cross-border and multilateral maritime operations. They can address backdoor corridor issues in maritime Southeast Asia, and help strengthen the maritime interagency structure covering Mindanao in the southern Philippines and North Sulawesi in Indonesia, a corridor that has long been plagued by a range of non-traditional security threats. Insecurities in the Sulu-Sulawesi seas prescribe tight borders and more holistic approaches to addressing minilateral mechanisms pertaining to security, peace and development, and mutual defense agreements.

So far both countries have signed more than 20 bilateral defense and security agreements.

During his visit to the Philippines earlier this year, President Jokowi said that the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and the Philippines is a momentum to strengthen concrete cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

“In political and security fields, we agree to strengthen border cooperation and I have emphasized the importance of accelerating the revision of the border patrol agreement, border crossing agreement, settlement of the continental shelf boundary, and strengthening defense cooperation, including the reinforcement of primary weapons system,” said President Jokowi in a joint press statement with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at Malacañang Palace, Manila.

In economic sector, both countries agreed to continue opening market access as an effort to increase trade between them. In particular, Jokowi also sought support from the Philippines regarding security measures for Indonesia’s coffee products.

“We agree to continue opening market access and Indonesia seeks support from the Philippines regarding special safeguard measures for Indonesia’s coffee products,” Jokowi said.

Regarding regional cooperation, Indonesia and the Philippines agreed to strengthen ASEAN unity and centrality. The President emphasized that ASEAN must continue to adhere to the principles of international law.

“We agree on the importance of strengthening ASEAN unity and centrality which is not just jargon, and ASEAN must continue to adhere to the principles of international law and maintain positive force for peace, stability and prosperity,” Jokowi said.

On this occasion, the President also expressed his appreciation for the Philippines’ trust in Indonesian state-owned enterprises to build important infrastructure in the country. President Jokowi encouraged immediate completion of the Philippines’ North-South Commuter Railway Project that also involve Indonesian state-owned enterprises.

“It is important to accelerate the groundbreaking of the North-South Commuter Railway Project,” stressed the President. 

The Philippines can offer many things to Indonesia. It is the second most populous country of 119.02 million people in ASEAN after Indonesia. It has the potential to become Indonesia’s biggest trading partner in ASEAN.

Veeramalla Anjaiah

Veeramalla Anjaiah is a Jakarta-based senior journalist and the author of the book “Azerbaijan Seen from Indonesia

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