12 June 2014 (Warsaw)- Philippine Ambassador to Poland H.E. Patricia Ann V. Paez hosted a Diplomatic Reception on the occasion of the 116th Independence Day celebration of the Republic of the Philippines on 12 June 2014 at the Regent Hotel in Warsaw.

The reception was attended by key officials of the Government of Poland, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the members of the Polish private sector, academe, think-tanks, NGOs and leaders of Polish student organizations.

The University of Warsaw String Quartet played and performed the first rendition in Europe of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) hymn.

In her keynote speech, Ambassador Paez congratulated Poland for its celebration of the 25th year of its having regained its freedom and said that the Philippines is also celebrating 28 years of freedom since the authoritarian regime in Manila was ousted thru the People Power Revolution in 1986.

She cited the parallelisms between the Philippines and Poland, specifically in terms of their national experiences and transformation towards full democracy. Ambassador Paez underscored that freedom is “not a spectator’s sport” and that it must be nurtured and sustained.

She added that freedom must also be safeguarded since as the Philippine experience had shown when martial law was declared in 1972, freedom can also be taken away. The lady envoy recalled the maxim of American abolitionist Mr. Wendell Phillips who said that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Ambassador Paez said that “although this was articulated 162 years ago, it still rings true today.”

Through a video presentation, the Philippine Ambassador who is also concurrently the Chair of the ASEAN Committee in Warsaw (ACW) introduced the ASEAN as a dynamic force in the region that will become an integrated ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 representing a consumer base of 608 million people.

The highlight of the event was the Gawad Parangal or the conferment of Awards of Recognition to individuals and organizations they represent who helped increase awareness about the Philippines in Poland through tourism, trade and investment promotion, reinforced interparliamentary relations, and assisted the Philippines recover from the devastating typhoon last year. The Ambassador conferred the awards to Hon. Adam Szejnfeld, former Marshal of the Sejm and President of the Poland-Philippines Parliamentary Group, Hon. Jerzy Wenderlich,Deputy Marshal of the Sejmand Vice President of thePoland-Philippines Parliamentary Group, Ms. Janina Ochojska, President of the Polish Humanitarian Action (PHA), Mr. Stanislaw Kracik, President of the Polish Red Cross, Mr. Marek Krupinski, Director General of UNICEF-Poland, Dr. Marian Subocz, Director of Caritas Poland, Mr. Grzegorz Karolewski, Country Manager and Mr. Krzysztof Steiman, Accounts Manager of Qatar Airways-Poland, Mr. Slawomir Kaczor, President and Mr. Tomasz Rogucki, Partner of Lingaro Sp z o.o., Mr. Krzysztof Jan Szymborski, President and CEO of the Baltic Container Terminal, Inc., Mr. Andrzej Pilot, Deputy Voivod of the Silesian Voivodeship Office, and Mr. Artur Jerzy Gacek Chairman of the Board of Polontex S.A..