President Benigno S. Aquino III marked the country’s 118th Independence Day, which carried the theme “Kalayaan 2016: Pagkakaisa, Pag-aambagan, Pagsulong”, at the Luneta Park on Sunday.
Upon his arrival, the President was welcomed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Gen. Glorioso Miranda.
After the arrival honors, President Aquino joined Vice President Jejomar Binay, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno at the flagpole area for the flag-raising ceremony, which was followed by the wreath-laying rites in front of the Rizal Monument.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, the President went down the dais to watch the fly-by of different aircrafts. Afterwards, the Chief Executive proceeded to the NHCP building for the launch of the NHCP Coffee Table Book entitled, “A Sense of Nation: The Birthright of Rizal, Bonifacio and Mabini”.
During the book launch, Diokno presented the coffee table book to President Aquino, who will end his six-year term on June 30.
Cabinet members and other government officials and employees also joined the celebration.
Simultaneous commemorative rites were also held in key cities nationwide, including in Kawit, Cavite; Malolos, Bulacan; Angeles, Pampanga; Davao City; Cebu City; and several parts of Metro Manila.
The NHCP has teamed up with other participating government agencies to mark the occasion with such activities as the Balik-Tanaw cultural heritage tour at the Pasig River, cultural performances at the Paco Park and Rizal Park, simultaneous job fairs nationwide, trade fairs, and public exhibits.
Last year, President Aquino commemorated Independence Day in the town of Sta. Barbara in Iloilo province. PND (jm)