5,000 people join ASEAN landmark lighting rite

DAGUPAN CITY, Aug. 8 — Some 5,000 students and teachers joined the Landmark Lantern Lighting at the Dagupan City Plaza at 7:00 p.m. today marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on August 8, 1967.

Mayor Belen Fernandez, assisted by City Schools Superintendent Lorna Bugayong and Assistant Schools Superintendent Lourdes Servito, did the honor in lighting seven lanterns, six of which bore the logo of ASEAN and the other the logo of the Dagupan City government while dancers garbed in native costumes of member ASEAN countries performed on the stage which was followed by showers of confetti and then by fireworks illuminating in the sky.

The three officials earlier participated in an ASEAN welcome parade along the principal streets of Dagupan, participated in by the Dagupan City Police, starting at 4:00 p.m., forcing the rerouting of traffic in the city’s downtown area as early as noon.

Dagupan was one of the 73 places in the country and only the second in Pangasinan where the Landmark Lantern Lighting took place. A similar activity took place at the same time in Binalonan, Pangasinan.

In her speech during a program prior to the lighting of the lanterns, Mayor Fernandez said Dagupan is heartily joining other places in the Philippines in hailing the achievement of ASEAN for fostering lasting peace, and stability in the southeast Asian region and cooperation and understanding among peoples of ASEAN member countries.

Mayor Fernandez said for the past 50 years, ASEAN became a symbol of friendly relationships among each member countries with diverse culture and history.

Jillian Kay Madison Fernandez, the youth city mayor of Dagupan, said ASEAN is a grouping of friendly nations “formed by our forefathers that removed all barriers so that the people of the next generations can live in peace and harmony”.

A food fair was also held at the Dagupan City Plaza where the delicacies of each member countries were served.

While waiting for 7:00 p.m., students from each participating school presented dance and song numbers to delight the crowd.

Aside from the Philippines, the other ASEAN member countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The ASEAN 50th anniversary celebration will continue for the whole week with the conduct of symposiums in various public and private schools focusing on the importance and relevance of ASEAN to the Filipino people.

The theme of the celebration was “Under One Light, We are One ASEAN”. (Leonardo Micua/PNA)