BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan called on residents to look back in history to bring substance to the celebration of the nation’s freedom.

"One hundred sixteen years of the country's independence to some can be hard to explain and even to understand and may even be looked-upon as only a 'red letter' day in the calendar," he said.

"It is my fervent hope that many of us will remember and will never forget the sanctity of this day, that it is revered, it is hallowed, it is sacred and it is more than just an ordinary day," the mayor added.

The mayor lamented how some Filipinos take for granted the sacrifices of our heroes who took a stand so our race may enjoy freedom.

"We are caught in the modern world where highly sophisticated gadgets take most of our time, this is the opportune moment to open the book of our glorious past, to recharge and refresh our memory that our national flag was first unfurled on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite by General Emilio Aguinaldo, after a bitter and bloody struggle," he said.

"This marks the day we say thank you and remember those who planted the tree of freedom, to pay homage to our leaders, patriots and brave martyrs who struggled and paid the supreme sacrifice to gain freedom as our inheritance as a nation," Domogan added.

"However, this momentous and victorious event was not a consummation but the beginning of constant and never ending struggle to preserve what was handed down to us as our legacy," he said.

The Araw ng Kalayaan this year carries the theme, "Ang pagsunod sa Yapak ng Dakilang Pilipino Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago."

"It calls for all of us to remember our heroes and emulate them as we carry on their torch of greatness in order for the country to remain being free and to be great again," Domogan said.

"I hope that all of us will do our best to live by the spirit and dream of June 12, 1898, to fight for a continued widespread positive change, to continue the long and arduous journey of following in our heroes footsteps, to give life and meaning to the gathering today and to inspire and embolden everyone to march towards the fulfilment of our noble theme," he said. (Paul Rillorta)