Philippines celebrates 115 years of Independence
MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III led the celebration of the 115th anniversary of Philippine independence in Manila Wednesday.
Aquino raised the flag of the Philippine Post Office (PPO) building in Lawton and also laid a wreath of flowers before the statue of hero Andres Bonifacio.
Dr Maria Serena Diokno, head of the National Historical Commission, accompanied Aquino and gave the introduction speech while outgoing Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim gave the opening remarks.
Department of National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Del Rosario were with Aquino in the commemoration of the country’s freedom from Spain’s 300-year rule.
Also in attendance were Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief General Emmanuel Bautista and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino.
Government personnel from the MMDA, Department of Agrarian Reform, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology took part in the celebration.
Students from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila taking their ROTC as well as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the Philippines also attended the event.
In Aquino's speech urged Filipinos to unite and stand against threats to freedom, as he reminded the public to “show the true qualities of the Filipino.”
Alluding to recent territorial disputes with Asian neighbors, Aquino vowed in his Independence Day speech to “take care of what is rightfully ours,” even as he noted the Philippines has “never trampled upon the rights of others.”
“As we stand for our rights, we must continue exhibiting the values Filipinos are known for: Aggression does not run in our veins, but neither will we back down from any challenge,” the President said, after leading a flag-raising ceremony in Manila.
There was simultaneous flag-raising and wreath laying ceremonies at the following sites: Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila; Rizal National Monument, Rizal Park, Manila; General Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine, Cavite; Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine, San Juan; Pamintuan Mansion, Angeles City, Pampanga; Barasoain Church, Malolos City, Bulacan; Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion, Manila North Cemetery; and Bonifacio National Monument, Caloocan City.
Participating government agencies for the Independence day celebration were Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Tourism (DOT), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), National Statistics Office (NSO), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHILHEALTH), Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Department of Finance (DOF), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) under the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO).