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Key officials lead Independence Day rites

Published June 12, 2012, 2:50 p.m. PHT

Last updated June 17, 2012, 12:04 a.m. PHT

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AUDIO: Key officials lead Independence Day rites

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Key officials lead Independence Day rites

This JPR file photo shows the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. The independence of the Philippines from Spain was proclaimed here on June 12, 1898. (JPR File Photo/Jeric Pena)

MANILA, Philippines (JPR) — Key Philippine officials led rites marking the 114th anniversary of Philippine independence in historical sites and landmarks across the country Tuesday.

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies Tuesday morning at the Barasoain Church Historical Landmark in Malolos City, Bulacan.

Similar ceremonies were also held simultaneously at the Rizal Park National Monument in Manila; Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite; Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City; Mauseleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion in Manila North Cemetery; Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City; and the Pamintuan House in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay led the Independence Day rites in Rizal Park, Sen. Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III in San Juan City, Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II in Kawit, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in Caloocan City and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. in Angeles City.

Independence Day Message

Speaking in Filipino, the president delivered his Independence Day message focusing on the theme “Pananagutan ng Bayan para sa Tuwid na Daan (The Accountability of a Sovereign Nation on Responsible Citizenry)” in Malolos City, Bulacan.

In his speech, the president explained the historical significance of the Barasoain Church.

“It was here where the representatives of different provinces came together to decide on how best to care for and nourish the hard-won freedom they had fought so hard for. It was here where Congress established the First Republic of the Philippines; here too where the Constitution of Malolos, the first Constitution of a Republic in Asia, was ratified and promulgated. It was here where our forebears decided to take the future of our country into their own hands, and show the world that the Philippines is for Filipinos,” the president said.

The president also revealed that he will lead next year’s Independence Day rites at the Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine. In the succeeding years, the president plans to celebrate June 12th in different parts of the country.

“Why do we hold our yearly celebrations in these historical places? We do this so we can emphasize that we did not just gain our freedom in Kawit, or in Malolos, or in Luzon alone. It is only fitting that each Filipino—from those in the most secluded mountainsides, to the farthest islands, and those seeking their future on other shores—feels that what we commemorate on the 12th of June is a nationwide celebration; that its spirit is what fuels our desire to be free,” he explained.

Toward the end of his speech, the president reminded the public about the true meaning of freedom.

“With heads held high, we will forge on towards a Philippines free not only from the clutches of foreign oppression, but also and more importantly, from corruption, hunger and injustice. Let us dismantle the bars of selfishness and disunity; let us break free from the culture of finger-pointing and indifference. This is the meaning of true freedom,” the president added.

Independence Day 2012 Activities

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines has prepared series of activities throughout the country including job fairs, cultural shows and concerts to mark Independence Day.