President Aquino leads commemoration of 116th Philippine Independence Day
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday led the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites held at the Plaza Quince Martires in this province to commemorate the 116th Philippine Independence Day.
Plaza Quince Martires was chosen by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), with the President’s approval, as the venue for this year’s Independence Day celebration to honor the 15 Martyrs of Bicol whose travails helped ignite the revolution in 1896.
Taking off from the Independence Day theme of “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago," President Aquino paid tribute to the country’s martyred heroes, who sacrificed their lives to free the Filipinos from the oppression of Spanish conquerors, leading to the proclamation of the country’s independence and the declaration of the First Philippine Republic.
“Ngayong Araw ng Kalayaan, sama-sama po tayong nagbibigay-pugay sa mga bayaning ipinaglaban ang tama. Gamitin natin silang inspirasyon sa patuloy nating paglalakbay sa daang matuwid,” President Aquino said before hundreds of Nagueños who gathered at the plaza.
“Isapuso natin ang iniwan nilang aral: ang malasakit sa ating kapwa ang maghahatid sa atin sa mga inaasam natin bilang isang lahi. Sa ganitong paraan lamang po natin masasabing tunay tayong karapat-dapat sa kanilang mga sakripisyo; sa ganitong paraan lamang po natin maitataguyod ang isang Pilipinas na ganap na makatarungan at malaya.”
President Aquino was joined by NHCP chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, Naga City Mayor John Bongat, Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor Robredo, National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista, and other local and military officials during his activities here.
Representative Robredo, for her part, thanked President Aquino for choosing to be in Naga City to celebrate this year’s Independence Day and for acknowledging the sacrifices rendered by their forefathers.
“Ikinagagalak po namin, Mahal naming Pangulo, ang inyong kapasiyahan na dito sa aming lungsod ipagdiwang ang 116 na araw ng kasarinlan. Ikinalulugod po namin na matapos ang mahabang panahon, nabigyan din ng kaukulang pagpapahalaga ang mga pamana at papel na ginampanan ng mga tinitingala naming mga bayani. Mula ngayon, hindi na lamang sila mga martir ng Bicol, mga bayani rin sila ng buong Pilipinas,” she said in her message.
Apart from the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites in Camarines Sur, other Independence Day-related activities were simultaneously held at the Rizal Park in Manila, Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Cavite, Barasoain Church in Bulacan, Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City, Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion at the North Cemetery in Manila, and the Pamintuan House in Angeles City.
President Aquino was also slated to meet with members of the diplomatic community for the traditional Vin d’Honneur at Malacañang Palace to celebrate the occasion. PND (hdc)
Filipinos can learn from country's heroes, says President Aquino
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur) President Benigno S. Aquino III has called on Filipinos to relive the spirit of heroism that spurred the revolution against Spanish colonialism more than a hundred years ago.
In his message during the 116th anniversary celebration of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, the President said the sacrifices of Filipino heroes must be recognized and must serve as an inspiration, as the country pursues the righteous path that the administration champions.
“Bilang mga tagapagmana ng kalayaang ipinaglaban ng mga nauna sa atin, tungkulin po ng bawat isa sa ating hindi na hayaang bumalik ang ating bansa sa dati nitong kalagayan; ang hindi na muling magbunsod ng mga panibagong sakripisyo sa maraming Pilipino,” he said during the ceremony held at Plaza Quince Martires here Thursday.
With this in mind, the government continues to carry out major projects that will improve the conditions of the people in the Bicol region, he said, giving as an example the Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay, that is aimed at enhancing tourism and relations with other countries.
He also cited the proposed one-stop Migrants Resource Center in Naga City which intends to improve the competitiveness and skills of overseas Filipino workers.
The President also said that the Congress has passed the extension of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) charter to open up more opportunities to Bicolanos.
Urging the people to fight oppression, graft and corruption, and poverty, the President said, "Ang pagwawaksi sa korupsyon at pang-aabuso sa sistema saan man sa Pilipinas—sa lokal man o sa mga pambansang antas—ay magbubunga ng mas matibay na mga istitusyong makapaglilingkod sa bawat Pilipino."
At the same time, he reminded the people to vote wisely in the election two years from now by choosing competent and pro-poor leaders, those who fight for the people's rights and not those who only deliver flowery speeches and concentrate on entertaining the crowd.
"Pananagutan nating mag-iwan ng mas makatarungan at mas maunlad na Pilipinas kaysa ating dinatnan," he said.
Heroism among Filipinos continues to this day in different forms, he said, citing the bravery of the Marines stationed in the Ayungin Shoal, the achievements of former Naga City mayor and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Jesse Robredo, and the courage of millions of Filipinos who gathered in EDSA during the 1986 revolution: the students, professionals, soldiers and policemen.
Naga City Mayor John Bonggat meanwhile thanked the President for choosing his city as the venue for this year's Independence Day celebration.
The Plaza Quince Martires was built in the heart of Naga City to recognize the heroism of Bicolano Ilustrados, who resisted the Spanish rule.
Eleven of the 15 martyrs from Bicol were executed in Bagumbayan in January 4, 1897, a few days after the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal. Two died in jail and the other two died while in exile in an African island. PND (as)
President Aquino: Government committed to pursuing justice for everyone
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to ensure that everyone's rights are protected under the law.
Gracing the 116th anniversary celebration of Philippine Independence here, the President said the 15 martyrs of Bicol were tried and convicted without a fair trial during Spanish colonial rule.
"Malinaw po sa atin ngayon na ang mga kaganapan ukol sa inyong Kinse Martires ay nagsilbing mitsa ng rebolusyon dito sa Kabikulan," he said in his message.
If the fifteen martyrs, who were members of the middle class, could be jailed and tortured based on unfounded accusations, ordinary people could suffer the same fate, the President said, noting that it is timely to recall these events in history as the government carries out reforms to bring about true justice.
Referring to the pork barrel scam, he said accusations of politicking made by certain “prominent personalities” have no basis because the issue on illegal detention, corruption and fake non-governmental organizations first surfaced during the 2013 election.
He said he instructed Justice Secretary Leila De Lima not to make charges without solid evidence.
"Sinunod natin ang tamang proseso: Nagsagawa ng imbestigasyon, nangalap ng mga ebidensiya, at ngayon ay nagsampa ng kaso," he noted.
The President said his government could have hastily filed cases against those involved in the scam even without concrete basis, but the Department of Justice chose to observe due process and gather evidences meticulously.
He said he does not want anyone to be prosecuted without basis because his family suffered injustice during the Marcos regime.
He recalled how his father, former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was tried and convicted during Martial Law.
"Ang karanasan nga po ng aming pamilya ang nagturo sa akin ng kahalagahan ng pakikipaglaban para sa pagkakapantay-pantay upang mawakasan ang siklo ng kawalang katarungan," he said.
"Ngayon nga pong nasa posisyon na ako para maisabuhay ang mga aral na ito, gagawin ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya upang mabigyan ng hustisya hindi lamang ang iilan, kundi ang buong sambayanan," he added.
The President led the Independence Day celebration here at Plaza Quince Martires, laying a wreath for the 15 martyrs of Bicol who resisted Spanish rule.
Eleven of the martyrs were executed while the other four died, either in jail or in exile. PND (as)
Dean of Diplomatic Corps lauds President Aquino for bringing peace to Mindanao
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, on Thursday commended President Benigno S. Aquino III for bringing peace to Mindanao through the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
“We know well that the path to peace is covered with thorns and roses. But your declaration that we have, before us, a path that can lead to a stable change in the island of Mindanao, communicates the optimism and enthusiasm of gathering roses, without suffering injury from the thorns,” Archbishop Pinto said during his toast at the vin d’honneur to commemorate the 116th anniversary of Philippine Independence held in Malacañang Palace.
“Therefore, Mr. President, we hope for a future of prosperity and cooperation with all those who are directly involved in this bold enterprise of priceless civic value. For us, representatives of governments and international organizations, this is our highest aspiration: to share peace with the peacemakers,” he added.
The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed last March 27 in Malacañang, marking the end of the decades-long conflict in Mindanao.
The archbishop also praised the Philippines for its hosting of the World Economic Forum on East Asia last month.
“The Philippines is present not just to gain a greater economic growth, but also to give its contribution to a shared progress, inspired by social justice,” the Papal Nuncio said. PND (ag)
President Aquino reminds people in government of forefathers’ sacrifice to gain independence
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday reminded people in government to honor the sacrifices made by the country’s forefathers to achieve independence.
During the vin d’honneur commemorating the 116th anniversary of Philippine Independence held in Malacañang Palace, the President said people in government should also work toward realizing the full benefit of independence.
“This responsibility falls on the shoulders of all Filipinos. Perhaps, especially for those of us in government, the depth and the breadth of this responsibility can be challenging,” he said.
During his toast, the President said, “To my fellow workers in government: may we strive every day to render true and honest service, remaining mindful that our mandate and authority emanate from the people.”
Addressing the diplomatic corps, he underscored the importance of lending a helping hand to other nations that need assistance in one form or another.
“We recognize that being an independent country means being part of the larger international community. A solely inward-looking approach to governance is doomed to fail; any responsible country knows that it must also work alongside its brother nations to address the world’s problems. This is what the Philippines is doing, even with our limitations,” he explained.
He said this is the very reason why the country sent a contingent in the UN Peacekeeping Force in Golan Heights.
“Each of our countries is beset with its own internal problems. But at the same time, we recognize that no comprehensive solution can be reached without also taking into consideration the problems that the global community faces. None of us can realize our goals in isolation,” President Aquino said. PND (ag)