Aquino picks Naga as site of Independence Day celebrations
MANILA, Philippines – Barely 5 days after the death of national hero Jose Rizal on December 30, 1896, at least 11 prisoners from Bicol were also executed. Four other prisoners from Bicol also died either in jail or from severe torture while in exile.
This year, 151 years later, President Benigno Aquino III will celebrate the Philippines' 116th Independence Day in Naga City, Camarines Sur, in honor of the 15 martyrs.
The event in Naga follows Aquino's own practice of visiting various regions for June 12 celebrations – a breakaway from tradition followed by past presidents, who commemorated the day in Rizal Park (formerly Luneta). It was in Luneta where Rizal was executed by Spanish soldiers.
Aquino has yet to celebrate Independence Day at the Rizal Park.
"Since assuming office, the President has been leading Independence Day celebrations in the regions, emphasizing the role of each province and community in the liberation of our country," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.
"On June 12, the President will commemorate Bicol’s contribution to the Philippine revolution, as encapsulated in the martyrdom of the Quince Martires—the 15 Bicolano Martyrs – whose deaths led to the civil guard revolt that ended Spanish rule in Camarines Sur."
Last year, Aquino led celebrations in Liwasang Bonifacio, to pay tribute to Filipino nationalist and revolutionary Andres Bonifacio. The year 2013 also marked Bonifacio's 150th birth anniversary.
In 2012, Aquino was in Malolos, Bulacan, where the 1898 constitutional convention was held, leading to the establishment of the First Philippine Republic, led by Emilio Aguinaldo. The year before that, in 2011, his first Independence Day as president, Aquino was in Kawit, Cavite, the site of the proclamation of Philippine independence in 1898.
Although Aquino's predecessor, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo celebrated Independence Day 2009 in Koronadal City, South Cotabato – to focus on Mindanao and generating jobs there during a time of global economic crisis – she commemorated June 12 in Rizal Park during all the other years of her 9-year presidency.
Independence Day is not the only day of the year that Aquino has veered away from tradition. Traditionally celebrated at the EDSA Shrine, Aquino celebrated the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution early this year in Cebu, followed by visits to provinces hardest hit by deadly calamities.
Cebu was where the President's mother, former President Corazon Aquino, stayed when the military turned against President Marcos on February 22, 1986.
In Naga, Aquino will be accorded full military honors with a 21-gun salute, before the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies.
The program will also include an interfaith prayer, welcome remarks from Naga Mayor John Bongat, and an inspirational message from Congresswoman Leni Robredo, the widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
After the celebrations in Naga, Aquino will return to Malacañang Palace to host the annual Vin D’Honneur where he will lead a toast, and will be joined by members of the Diplomatic Corps and the leaders of Congress and the judiciary.
This year's Independence Day is themed "Pagsunod sa Yakap ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago (Following the steps of Filipino hoers, towards permanent and wide-reaching change)."
At 8 am, flag-raising and wreath-laying rites will begin at the Plaza Quince Martires, which will be replicated at the Rizal National Monument, Rizal Park, Manila; Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite; Barasoain Church Historical Landmark, Malolos City, Bulacan; Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine, San Juan City; Bonifacio National Monument, Caloocan City; Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion, North Cemetery, Manila; and the Pamintuan House, Angeles City. - Rappler.com