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PH celebrates 125th Independence Day

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. leads the 125th anniversary of Philippine Independence and Nationhood with the theme, "Kalayaan, Kinabukasan, Kasaysayan," today at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park in Manila. (Presidential Communications Office photos)

MANILA, (PIA) -- The Philippines on Monday, June 12, celebrated its 125th Independence Day, marking the occasion with a series of events and activities, including parades, job fairs, photo and video contests, and cultural performances.

In the capital city of Manila, the main Independence Day celebration took place at the Rizal Park. The event featured a civic-military parade dubbed, "Parada ng Kalayaan," as well as a cultral presentations by locals. The highlight of the celebration was the simultaneous raising of the Philippine flag across the country, the singing of the national anthem, and wreath-laying ceremonies led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

In a speech delivered at the Quirino Grandstand, President Marcos made a commitment that the Philippines would never submit to external forces again, emphasizing the importance of drawing confidence from the nation's history.

The heroes of our liberation will be proud now that we have thrown off the ominous yolk of domination, never again to be subservient to any external force that directs or determines our destiny,” he said.

Additionally, the chief executive emphasized the endeavors of the nation's forebears in safeguarding the freedom of the country. According to Marcos, these historical efforts serve as a source of direction and assurance for Filipinos, empowering them to progress together as a unified force.

With new oppressors and challenges, our people remained defiant — affirming that it is in our core to defend what is ours. And with all that, this occasion symbolizes and entails, we understand better now that liberty will not flourish on its own; freedom will not materialize unless it is declared boldly, believed sincerely, and demonstrated passionately.”

He then made a promise that under his administration, Filipinos would be guided towards a state of "true freedom" in a responsible manner, as he called on all Filipinos to be a united nation.

Take to heart the immeasurable courage and loss that came out of our heroes,” he said.

For this, I challenge each of us: On the 125th year since the declaration of our freedom, let us assert our liberty day by day,” he added.

President Marcos is joined by Manila City Mayor Maria Sheilah "Honey" Lacuna and other high-ranking national and local government officials. In her message, Mayor Lacuna said that a nation's history is significant for the future of the country. Likewise, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chair Emmanuel Calairo also paid tribute to all those who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy our liberties.

Photo by Jerome Carlo Paunan/PIA-NCR
Photo courtesy: Caloocan City Public Information Office
Photo by Jerome Carlo Paunan/PIA-NCR

Postmaster General Luis D. Carlos, for his part, presented the commemorative Stamp Frame to Marcos containing the 125th Philippine Independence Day Stamp. The stamp features two important moments in our history: The Sewing of the Philippine Flag by Marcela and Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herbosa Natividad in Hong Kong, and when Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine Independence with the very same flag proudly raised at the Aguinaldo residence (now Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine) during the Declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898.

The official logo for the 125th Anniversary of Philippine Independence and Nationhood also appears on the official first day cover.

Meanwhile, other major cities, government agencies and historic sites across Metro Manila also held their own respective Independence Day rites.

In Caloocan City, the main event was led by Caloocan City Mayor Dale Gonzalo “Along” Malapitan and House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez in ceremonies held at the Andres Bonifacio Monument and National Shrine in EDSA.

In his speech, Speaker Romualdez urged citizens to reflect on the lessons of the past and persist in their fight for liberation from poverty, hunger, and the pursuit of a brighter future.

"Sa araw na ito, napapanahon na sariwain ang mga aral na ibinigay ni Gat Andres at lahat ng bayaning nagbuwis ng buhay sa altar ng kalayaan. Panahon ito para balikan din natin ang kasaysayan tungo sa kalayaan at matuto sa mga aral ng nakaraan. Hindi natin mailalatag ang daan tungo sa magandang kinabukasan kung hindi pag-aaralan ang landas na tinahak ng mga naunang henerasyon. Utang natin sa kanila ang kalayaang tinatamasa natin ngayon. Bilang pagkilala sa kanilang ambag sa bayan, napapanahon na tanungin ang ating mga sarili kung may puwang pa ba ang kabayanihan sa henerasyon natin ngayon," Romualdez said.

(Translation: On this day, it is timely to relive the lessons given by Gat Andres and all the heroes who gave their lives on the altar of freedom. This is a time for us to go back to history towards freedom and learn from the lessons of the past. We cannot pave the way to a better future if we do not study the path taken by previous generations. We owe them the freedom we enjoy today. In recognition of their contribution to the nation, it is timely to ask ourselves if there is still room for heroism in our generation today.)

"Kailangan bang humawak ng armas para maging bayani? Kailangan bang mamatay para sa bayan para matawag lamang na bayani? Kailangan pa bang makipaglaban kung ganap na ang kalayaan? Sa ganang akin, hindi pa tapos ang laban ni Gat Andres at iba pa nating bayani. Walang ganap na kalayaan kung may naghihirap pa rin sa lupang tinubuan. Ang laban para sa kalayaan ay hindi lamang himagsikan laban sa mga mananakop. Laban din ito para wakasan ang kagutuman. Laban para maranasan ang ginhawa sa buhay. Laban para matiyak ang magandang kinabukasan. Sa araw na ito, gisingin natin ang kabayanihan sa bawat isa sa atin. Maging bayani para iangat ang buhay ng pamilya. Kumilos para maging bahagi ng solusyon sa mga problema ng bayan. Maging bayani para sa bansa at para sa kapwa," he added.

(Translation: Do we have to take up arms to be a hero? Is it necessary to die for the country just to be called a hero? Is there still a need to fight when freedom is complete? As far as I'm concerned, the fight between Gat Andres and our other heroes is not over yet. There is no complete freedom if someone is still suffering in the land of their birth. The fight for freedom is not just a rebellion against the occupiers. It is also a fight to end hunger. Fight to experience the comfort in life. Fight to ensure a better future. On this day, let's awaken the heroism in each of us. Be a hero to uplift family life. Take action to be part of the solution to the people's problems. Be a hero for the country and for others.)

Mayor Malapitan, for his part, aso called on all "Batang Kankaloo" and the public to continue the fight for independence from different social issues the country is facing, including poverty.

Dahil tulad nila Gat Andres Bonifacio, Doktor Jose Rizal, Gabriela Silang at marami pang bayani, ang bawat isa sa atin ay maaaring maging instrumento ng pagbabago at sa sama-samang pagsisikap, tiwala ako na maaabot natin ang pangarap para sa ating lipunan at sa ating bansa," Malapitan said.

(Translation: Like Gat Andres Bonifacio, Doctor Jose Rizal, Gabriela Silang and many other heroes, each one of us can be an instrument of change and with collective efforts, I am confident that we will achieve the dream for our society and our country.)

Noong ipinaglaban ng ating mga sinaunang bayani ang kalayaan ng ating bansa, tiyak ko na ang nasa isip nila ay ang kinabukasan ng bawat Pilipino at ng susunod na henerasyon. Dahil sa kanilang pakikipaglaban at sakripisyo, ginugunita natin ang pagiging isang malayang bansa ng Republika ng Pilipinas," the mayor added.

(Translation: When our heroes fought for the freedom of our country, I am sure that what they had in mind was the future of every Filipino and the next generation. Because of their struggle and sacrifice, we commemorate the Philippines becoming a Republic and an independent country.)

Nais kong himukin ang bawat Pilipino na ituloy natin ang ipinaglaban ng ating mga bayani, ituloy natin ang laban para sa ating mga karapatan, ang laban kontra kahirapan at iba pang suliranin ng lipunan upang sa mga darating na panahon ay patuloy na matatamasa ng ating mga anak at ng susunod na henerasyon ang kalayaan na mayroon tayo ngayon," he further said.

(Translation: I want to encourage every Filipino to continue what our heroes fought for, let's continue the fight for our rights, the fight against poverty and other social problems so that in the future our children will continue to enjoy and the next generation the freedom we have today)

Also present during the event were Caloocan City First District Representative Oscar "Oca" Malapitan, Third District Representative Dean Asistio, Vice-Mayor Karina Teh, city officials, business clubs and humanitarian groups such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, Caloocan City Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Inc., Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, and Knights of Columbus. All parties conducted wreath laying at the historic monument.

At the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City, Mayor Francis Zamora and Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco led the commemoration, including a wreath laying at the Spirit of Pinaglabanan and the blessing of the monuments of Philippine heroes Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, and Dr. Jose Rizal.

In her address, DOT Secretary Frasco said that we, as a nation, owe our heroes the freedoms we enjoy today, as we gaze towards the future with great optimism and a strong sense of duty.

"This day, we honor the sacrifices of those who have come before us so that we may enjoy the freedoms that we do and give meaning to their sacrifices, to the toil, to the lives that they gave to the nation. As we enjoy our freedoms today, we look to the future with immense hope and a sense of responsibility,” Sec. Frasco said.

I’m grateful to your mayor for presenting his long range of plans to ensure that the Filipinos and our friends from all over the world do not forget the significance of the strength of spirit of the Filipino of which we are reminded when we come to Pinaglabanan Shrine. San Juan’s cautious guarding of our history allows for the Filipinos’ story to be told. Indeed, the length and breadth of our story has not yet been fully articulated to the world,” she added.

For her part, San Juan Representative Atty. Bel Zamora reminded citizens the value of what our heroes fought and died for.

Malimit na ating inaalala ang mga tao na nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay upang tayo ay mamuhay nang malaya ngayon. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa kanilang mga sakripisyo. Ngunit hindi dapat dito nagtatapos ang ating pag-aalala. May responsibilidad tayo sa mga susunod na mga henerasyon na palawigin ang kalayaan na ipinamana sa atin. Marami pa tayong kayang gawin para sa ikauunlad ng ating bayan,” Representative Zamora said.

(Translation: We often remember the people who gave their lives so that we can live freely today. We are grateful for their sacrifices. But our concern should not end here. We have a responsibility to future generations to extend the freedom that was bequeathed to us. We can do a lot more for the development of our people.)

Mayor Zamora, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of the city's Pinaglabanan Shrine that commemorates the Battle of Pinaglabanan, the battle that marked the start of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule.

Walang kalayaan kung walang Pinaglabanan. Kaya naman inilipat natin ang mga monumento ng ating mga bayani na sina Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, at Jose Rizal dito sa loob ng Pinaglabanan Shrine na kinikilala mismo ng National Historical Commission of the Philippines kung saan sila ay mabibigyan ng karangalan at pagpupugay ng lahat ng dadalaw dito,” Mayor Zamora said.

(Translation: There is no freedom without the Pinaglabanan. That's why we moved the monuments of our heroes Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, and Jose Rizal here inside the Pinaglabanan Shrine recognized by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines where they will be given honor and respect by all those who visit here.)

Tandaan po natin na ang Pinaglabanan Shrine sa loob ng San Juan ay napakalaking bahagi ng pagkamit ng kalayaan ng ating minamahal na bansang Pilipinas. Ito ay bahagi ng ating pagkakakilanlan ng ating lungsod at dapat lamang na ito’y malaman ng buong bansa at ganoon din ng buong mundo,” the mayor added.

Photo courtesy: San Juan Public Information Office
Photos by Jumalynne Doctolero/PIA-NCR
Photo courtesy: Mayor Francis Zamora FB

(Translation: Let's remember that the Pinaglabanan Shrine inside San Juan is a huge part of achieving the independence of our beloved country, the Philippines. This is part of our city's identity and it should be known to the whole country and the whole world.)

The local chief executive also announced that the Pinaglabanan Shrine will be included in DOT’s “hop on, hop off” tour in Metro Manila. This will help in increasing the number of tourists and promote the city’s historical significance in Philippine Independence.

Ako ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa ating panauhing pandangal, Kalihim Christina Garcia Frasco, sapagkat bilang kalihim ng Kagawaran ng Turismo ay napakalaki ng kanyang maitutulong upang lalong makilala ng mga Pilipino sa ating bansa at sa ibayong dagat at gayundin ng mga dayuhan ang sagradong lugar na ito,” he said.

(Translation: I am very grateful to our guest of honor, Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, because as the secretary of the Department of Tourism, she can help a lot so that Filipinos in our country and overseas, as well as foreigners, can get to know this sacred place.)

Through the DOT, the Pinaglabanan Shrine Visitor Center will also finally be realized. It will include a souvenir shop and a café that tourists can visit in Pinaglabanan Shrine.

The city’s tourism department is also working on a tourism circuit that will take tourists to a historical, art, and food trail that features the Pinaglabanan Shrine, El Deposito Museum and Underground Water Reservoir and Museo ng Katipunan, among others, to showcase the rich history of San Juan City, with the DOT.

As part of this tourism partnership, Mayor Zamora also launced a major photo and video contest: The Makagabong San Juan - Pinaglabanan Shrine Photo and Video Contest with P475,000 worth of prizes to be won. The content of the photos and videos will be focused on the four monuments in Pinaglabanan Shrine (Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Jose Rizal and the Spirit of Pinaglabanan and the El Deposito Underground Water Reservoir as well. The Best Photo and Best Video winners will get P100,000.00 each. Please follow their Facebook pages for more details.

Photos by Alice Sicat/PIA-NCR
Photo courtesy: Muntinlupa City Public Information Office
Contributed photos

At the Mausoléo de los Veterános de la Revolucion (Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution), inside the Manila North Cemetery in Manila, Defense Secretary Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro led the laying of flowers in commemoration of Independence Day. The secretary was accompanied by the commander of the Philippine Air Force, BGen. Gerald Gagan and Manila City Vice Mayor Yul Servo.

Representatives from the NHCP Ms. Liezar Montilla, along with the representative from the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, as well as Ms. Roselle Castañeda, representative of the Manila North Cemetery, Dr. Melody Cruz of the Manila City Schools Division also offered flowers.

Designed by Filipino architect Arcadio Arellano in 1915, the place is one of the more well-known mausoleums of our country, built for the remains of the Veterans of the Philippine Revolution of 1896 and the Philippine-American War and inaugurated May 30, 1920. By virtue of a Presidential Decree, the mausoleum was proclaimed as National Monument, April 6, 1993.

In Muntinlupa City, Mayor Ruffy Biazon led the citywide observance with the theme, "Kalayaan, Kinabukasan, Kasaysayan" (Freedom, Future, History), as he shared that the lessons given by our predecessors are important for Filipinos to see a better future for the Philippines.

"We look at history is very important, because there are many lessons to be learned," Mayor Biazon said, further emphasizing the importance of studying culture, the future, and the aspirations for the country.

Similar celebrations were held in the cities of Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, Las Pinas, Makati, Paranaque, Pasay, Taguig and Quezon City, as well as in the lone Municipality of Pateros.

Meanwhile, close to 12,000 employment opportunities abroad were offered to jobseekers as the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) held a job mega fair in Mandaluyong City as part of the celebration.

With the DMW's one-day overseas mega job fair, at least 11,750 job orders were offered by 32 recruitment agencies and two manning firms, according to DMW Assistant Secretary Felicitas Bay.

Among the job openings offered are for nurses, welders, construction workers, laborers, waiters/waitresses, baristas, warehouse supervisors, food servers, chefs, bakers, accountants and seafarers for destinations that include the Middle East, Europe, North America, and Asia.

Other job fairs were held in the cities of Taguig and Caloocan hosted by the Department of Labor and Employment NCR, TESDA NCR and the private sector.

Moreover, the DOLE-NCR, through its Manila Field Office, held its Project Angel Tree that benefited 50 profiled child laborers at the Dakota Playground, Quirino Ave, Malate in Manila.

The project is a joint initiative of the labor department’s #BatangMalaya campaign together with Manila LGU, Manila Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, and PESO Manila. The project is geared towards providing basic necessities to child laborers and their families.

It can be recalled that the Independence of the Philippines from Spanish rule was declared by former President Emilio Aguinaldo in Cavite in 1898. (PIA-NCR)

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Jerome Carlo Paunan



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