NAGA CITY — 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.