Manila, Philippines (June 12 2011) - The Philippines celebrates today its 113th Independence Day, the first under President Benigno C. Aquino III.
The president's independence day speech is expected to be a preview of his upcoming upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday.
Today's celebration kicks off with simultaneous flag raising in various historic sites.
President Aquino raises the Philippine flag at the Rizal Park. Other personalities shall do the same in other places including the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan with Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. leading the event; the monument of Andres Bonifacio in Caloocan City with Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo; the Pinaglaban Memorial Shrine in San Juan City with Sen. Teofisto Guingona III; Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion in Manila North Cemetery with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin; the Pamintuan Mansion in Angeles City, Pampanga with Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Davao City with Secretary Lualhati Antonino, and Cebu City with Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Aquino will lead the Independence Day celebration at the Rizal Park where several activities are lined up to highlight the importance and significance of the event.
Valte urged the public to take part in the Independence Day activities.
“In your free time perhaps, you can go watch the Independence Day parade and all other activities. We also have a job fair,” Valte said.
The job fair and annual parade take place at the Rizal Park.
Valte also said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a congratulatory message through the US embassy in Manila reiterating US support to the Philippine government’s commitment to fight corruption, promote judicial reform, reduce poverty, and create opportunities for its people.
“The United States and the Philippines are long-standing friends and partners. We stood together during World War II to defend liberal democratic values. Today, we are working together on many new fronts,” Clinton said.
“Whether we are working to find ways to catalyze economic growth, helping victims of natural disasters, combating extremism, or calling for greater protection of human rights, our two countries share a vision of a better world,” she said.
US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said the Philippines and the US will maintain strong relationship “now and in the future” as Washington remains dedicated to being the Philippines’ partner whenever the country is in harm’s way.
Thomas said this is a “commitment born of our shared histories and close ties, and we are proud to stand by your side.”
The 2011 Independence Day celebration National Organizing Committee lined up free services from government agencies, job fairs and entertainment in the evening.
Among the government agencies that would provide free services are the National Statistics Office for birth certificate; Land Transportation Office for driver’s license; the Social Security System, the National Bureau of Investigation for clearances; PhilHealth for health cards; Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Department of Health.
Other agencies will be accommodating complaints and requests for assistance like the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Technical Education and Skills Authority and the Philippine National Police.
The Department of Labor and Employment also announced it would be offering 24,000 local, overseas, and government jobs during the celebration today.
The Philippine Coast Guard said 13 of its vessels would simultaneously blow their horns during the celebration.
For about 10 minutes, all vessels docked at the different seaports in the country as well as vessels out at sea are expected to blow their horns, the Coast Guard said.
Traffic would be diverted along the routes leading to Rizal Park and the Quirino Grandstand for today’s celebration.
The entire stretch of Roxas Boulevard would be closed during the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies.
Traffic officials advised motorists traveling northward along Roxas Boulevard to turn right to President Quirino. All vehicles coming from Port Area should turn left at A. Soriano.
Vehicular traffic coming from Jones, McArthur and Quezon bridges should go straight to Taft Avenue then turn right to President Quirino while vehicles going to Port Area should turn right to Victoria Street.
Cargo trucks should turn right to President Quirino then pass through Nagtahan, A.H. Lacson, Yuseco, cross Abad Santos Avenue and Raxabago Street.
Manila Police director Chief Superintendent Roberto Rongavilla said at least 1,000 policemen will be deployed in critical areas to secure Rizal Park and other areas.
Traffic policemen and civilian volunteers are also tasked to assist motorists during the rerouting.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) also announced the completion of the physical arrangements at the Quirino Grandstand where the Independence Day celebration would kick off today.
“We are almost 100 percent complete in the physical arrangements at the Quirino Grandstand where the parade would be held. We have also placed about a thousand Philippine flags in historical places situated in the metropolis such as the Paco Park and Luneta, as directed by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” DPWH-NCR South Manila district engineer Mikunug Macud said.
Macud said Philippine flags were also put up along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila leading to Roxas Boulevard and Rizal Park and roads leading to the airport.
“We are just finishing up our road repair works in some sections of Roxas Boulevard. We have been working on these physical arrangements for the last two weeks,” Macud added.
The state weather bureau, however, advised the public to bring umbrellas and raincoats during the celebration.
Weather forecaster Jori Loiz said the weather outlook for today would be “less chance of rain in the morning but isolated rainshowers in the afternoon.” (From philstar.com)