PNoy leads flag-raising to kick off Independence Day rites

President Benigno Aquino III kicked off early Sunday the celebration of the Philippines’ 113th Independence Day by leading flag-raising ceremonies in Kawit, Cavite at 7 a.m.

Aquino received arrival honors at the Aguinaldo Shrine and took part in wreath-laying ceremonies before raising the Philippine flag, radio dzBB’s Tuesday Niu reported.

He arrived at the shrine at 6:30 a.m. With him were Cabinet secretaries led by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

Present at the ceremonies were Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla Jr., Kawit Mayor Reynaldo Aguinaldo, and Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle.

The shrine stands where Philippine independence was first declared on June 12, 1898.

In Manila, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino led the flag-raising ceremonies at the Rizal Park.

The Philippine Coast Guard sounded horns while the Armed Forces of the Philippines started a static display in Manila, radio dzBB’s Glen Juego reported.

Also present at the Manila rites were Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Secretaries Alberto Lim (tourism), Armin Luistro (education) and Jose Rene Almendras (energy).

Security was tight in the area, particularly along Roxas Boulevard, as militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) was to hold a protest action near the US Embassy.

At the Monumento area in Caloocan City, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo led flag-raising ceremonies following a 6 a.m. Mass, dzBB’s Allan Gatus reported.

Robredo said the spirit of patriotism must be kept alive in Filipinos even if it is not Independence Day.

“Ang pinakahamon manatili hindi lamang sa panahon na tayo nakikipaglaban sa dayuhan kundi sa bagay na pwede nating sabihing kinikitil ang kasarinlan ng mamamayan. Kung hindi natin mabibigyan ng buhay ang damdaming yan naroon lang siya sa isang tabi," he said

(Our challenge is to keep the spirit of patriotism alive, not just at a time when we are fighting foreign invaders. We should not neglect our sense of patriotism.)

In San Juan City in Metro Manila, students showed up early for the flag-raising ceremony at the Pinaglabanan Shrine led by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, dzBB’s Mao dela Cruz reported.

Mayor Guia Gomez and son Rep. Jose Victor Ejercito arrived early for the flag-raising ceremony.

In Bulacan province, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and provincial officials led similar activities at the Barasoain Church.

The church was a temporary residence of General Emilio Aguinaldo, and was the venue of the convening of the First Philippine Congress (September 15, 1898).

It was also where the drafting of the Malolos Constitution took place, and where the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated on January 23, 1899. — LBG, GMA News

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