Aquino leads nation in commemorating 115th anniversary of the martyrdom of Rizal
President Benigno S. Aquino III led the nation in commemorating the 115th anniversary of the martyrdom of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal through a series of ceremonies at the Rizal National Monument in Manila.
Upon his arrival, the President was accorded full military honors. He then led the flag-raising rites which was simultaneously done in other parts of the country. He was assisted by other high-ranking government officials led by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Presidential Political Adviser Ronald Llamas, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chair Maria Serena Diokno. Also present were Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa and Philippine National Police Chief Police director General Nicanor Bartolome, among others.
After the flag-raising ceremonies, President Aquino also offered a wreath at the Rizal National Monument where he met with descendants of the Rizal clan that include Marlene Jacinto from the side of Jose Rizal’s borther Paciano; Mia Syquia Faustmann from the side of Rizal’s sister Maria; Luisa Tinio Bayot, one of the direct descendant of Rizal’s sister Saturnina and Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Teresita Herbosa from the side of Lucia.
Culminating the events was President Aquino’s unveiling of the Rizal Fountain Marker at the Noli Me Tangere Garden where he was joined by officials of the NHCP led by Executive Director Ludovico Badoy.
The fountain was formally turned over to the government by then German Ambassador Johann Karl Von Stechow during the 68thAnniversary of the Martyrdom of the National Hero in 1964. It was a gift of the German government to the people of the Philippines. The fountain was set up at the Rizal Park and was aptly called “Rizal Fountain”.
In 1994, a major renovation was done through the kindness of Sir Hans Schoof KGOR Supreme Exchequer of the Knights of Rizal. This year, the said fountain together with the other structures in Rizal Park was renovated as part of the celebration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Jose Rizal.
The event, which was anchored on the theme, “Rizal: Haligi ng Bayan” was also observed in other parts of the country particularly in Rizal’s hometown in Calamba City and Dapitan City where he was exiled.
Rizal was born in Calamba on June 19, 1861, to Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado and Teodora Morales Alonso Realonda.
At a very young age of three, Jose Rizal has mastered the alphabet through his mother and at the age of eight, he wrote his very first poem entitled “Sa Aking Mga Kababata” (To My Childhood Friends). At 16, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila with a grade of “Excellent”.
He inspired the Philippine Revolution through his writings, especially his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Rizal was imprisoned in Fort Santiago and was executed by musketry at Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park) on December 30, 1896. (PCOO)