MANILA – The Rizal Monument and the Musical Dancing Fountain in Rizal Park will be illuminated in the European Union flag blue and yellow colors on Sunday in celebration of Europe Day.

Europe Day is a celebration of peace and unity held every May 9, which also marks the anniversary of the historic 'Schuman Declaration' that set out the idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe.

The declaration led to the establishment of the European Communities, now the European Union of 27 European countries founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

EU Ambassador Luc Véron said that in the Philippines, Europe Day celebrations are an opportunity to signify the partnership and friendship between the bloc and Manila.

“We are honored and humbled to light with European colors the monument dedicated to the Philippines national hero Jose Rizal," he said.

"Against the backdrop of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Europe Day reminds us that peace is at the core of the European integration project. A value that we share with the Philippines. It is a wonderful symbol of the ties that bind the Philippines and the European Union," he added.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and the National Parks Development Committee chief Cecile Lorenzana-Romero are expected to attend the lighting ceremony.

The EU said this occasion would also allow people to recall how the national hero is connected to Europe.

Inaugurated in June 2011 in time for Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary, the Noli Me Tangere Garden features the Wilhelmsfeld drinking fountain where Rizal used to drink during his stay in 1886 in Germany. The red sandstone fountain was donated to the Philippine government on December 30, 1964, as a symbol of German-Filipino friendship.

The bust of Ferdinand Blumentritt – Rizal’s friend who campaigned for Philippine independence can also be found in the Garden.

The De La Salle University will also light up its façade in yellow and blue colors on May 10 at 6 p.m.

De La Salle University is an official repository of education and information materials about the European Union under its European Research and Documentation Centre, and is part of the Consortium of Universities in the Philippines offering a European Studies Programme.

DLSU has also been a longstanding partner of the European Union under the Erasmus+ Capacity-Building for Higher Education Programme.

It has been involved in curriculum development, capacity-building in Asia for resilience education, modernization of policies, governance and management of higher education systems. Currently, DLSU participates in an ongoing “Erasmus+ key action: Learning Mobility of Individuals” together with other European and Philippine Higher Education Institutions.

The lights can be viewed by the public onsite and online through https://www.facebook.com/EUDelegationToThePhilippines. (PNA)