First, I want to thank Mr. Ryan Rosario for inviting me to today’s event. This is Page Automotive’s first presence in the Filipino community of Metro Detroit, but thanks to Ryan and Mrs. Arcie Gemino who have rendered me great support during my preparation. I have already begun to feel like home here!

I was born in the late communist-era China. Like everyone in my generation, I witnessed the 1989 Tian An Men Square student-led protest, and then the government-authorized massacre. This world-famous incident openly showcased the democratic reform movement in China. Many people were arrested and killed during and after the event. And some lucky ones had successfully fled to the US to seek support from the Democratic West.

And I remembered during a high-school history class in China, we studied the late 18th century Philippine reform movement and also the story of the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

Dr. Rizal was such a brave and courageous man with a brilliant and beautiful mind. His nonviolence philosophy of advocating freedom and independence throughout his movement is universally profound.

From China’s Tian An Men Square incident to Dr. Rizal’s memorial, from our beloved motherland countries in Asia to our new homeland in the United States, our desire to seek liberty and freedom has never changed in the past hundreds of years.

Our aspiration for spreading prosperity, peace and love will always be the fundamental in our culture and value system.

I know that many of you here who moved to this country have made extreme sacrifices for your family and loved ones, and worked incredibly hard for your American dream — our American dream. I feel that it gives today’s Rizal’s Day event a new meaning — it’s a celebration for the freedom and democracy we’re grateful to have here, and a big congratulation to all of us for the life we have built and the things we have achieved in this country.

May God continue to bless us and bless America!

And I wish you all a great holiday.

Maligayang Pasko! Salamat!