Dr. Hector Gayares Jr., a volunteer doctor who has helped the city manage the COVID-19 pandemic since it started last year, will be the guest of honor and speaker at the 123rd Philippine Independence Day program of Bacolod City on June 12.
As a volunteer, Gayares has been functioning as deputy medical of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of the City, and a private sector representative at the COVID-19 Vaccination Council (CoVaC), a press release from the Bacolod Public Information Office said.
In inviting Gayares, Mayor Evelio Leonardia told him, “Having been with us since we started as a team in our fight against this dreaded pandemic, we believe that you are the right person who could give our people more insights about this unseen enemy that has caused a lot of worries, anxieties, and even pain for the loss of loved ones.”
Gayares is a surgery clinician, professor, and hospital administrator. He was the president and medical director of the Adventist Medical Center Bacolod from 2011 to 2018, and chief executive officer of the Adventist International Health System Philippines from July 2018 to April 2021. He now sits as the chief executive officer of the Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital in Banepa, Nepal since May 2021.
The ceremony on June 12 will memorialize that historic day in Kawit, Cavite 123 years ago when General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed an independent Philippine Republic.
The commemoration rites will start with a “simple yet fitting” flag-raising ceremony at 6 a. m. at the Bacolod City Public Plaza.
Councilor Renecito Novero will lead the prayer, while Councilor Archie Baribar will lead the Pledge of Loyalty to the Philippine Flag.
This year’s theme is: “Kalayaan 2021: Diwa sa Pagkakaisa at Paghilom ng Bayan.”
“More than unity and healing, we call for freedom from what ails the world today,” said Leonardia.
Officials and participants from various sectors who will attend the event are required to observe minimum health safety protocols.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran will give the welcome remarks, which will be followed by the acknowledgement of guests by Councilor Israel Salanga.
The inspirational message of Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya and Leonardia’s Independence Day message will ensue immediately after.
City Administrator Em Ang will then introduce Gayares as the guest of honor. Councilor Lady Gles Pallen will deliver the closing remarks.
The program will officially conclude with a wreath-laying at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier to be led by the guest of honor together with Leonardia, Gasataya, Familiaran, members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, and war veteran representatives.
The Department of Education Quartet will lead the singing of the Philippine National Anthem, Bacolod Hymn, and Nationalistic Song.
June 18 is also a special non-working holiday in Bacolod to celebrate the city’s charter day.*