MANILA, Philippines – Fresh from a 3-day vacation in Baguio City, President Benigno Aquino III led the national commemoration of the 117th death anniversary of national hero Jose Rizal Monday, December 30.
Instead of gracing the rites at Rizal Park in Manila, Aquino attended the flag-raising ceremonies in honor of Rizal in his hometown Tarlac City.
Monday also marked the centennial of the Rizal National Monument in Luneta.
Vice President Jejomar Binay presided over the rites at Rizal Park, which was held simultaneously with other Rizal Day commemorations in various cities. Binay was joined by his ally, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
The author of two classic books – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo – during the Spanish colonial rule, Rizal’s nationalistic spirit helped fuel the fire for the 1896 Philippine revolution against the colonizers.
On this day, activities such as cockfighting, horse-racing and jai-alai are prohibited under Republic Act No. 229 signed by former President Elpidio Quirino in 1948. Those caught in violation of the law could face fines of up to P200 or impisonment of up to 6 months.
There were moves in the 14th Congress to transfer Rizal day from his death anniversary to the date of his birth on June 19, but Congress failed to pass the measure. – Rappler.com
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