MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) - President Benigno Aquino on Thursday declared Friday, July 13, 2012 as National Day of Remembrance for the late king of Philippine comedy Dolphy.
Aquino issued the declaration in Proclamation 433.
"The President issued the proclamation in recognition of how the nation deeply feels the passing of Dolphy. In the proclamation, the President cited Dolphy as a man who will live on in Philippine cultural history—and in the hearts of many of his countrymen," deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press statement.
"President Aquino in his proclamation said that every milestone that Dolphy marked in a career that spanned decades, raised the standards of the entertainment industry, and strengthened our cultural identity, giving innumerable aspirants an example to look up to," she said.
Valte said Aquino also cited Dolphy's philanthrophy and generosity towards other people.
"In citing Dolphy’s life and career, the President in his proclamation said it is appropriate to mark the memory of Mr. Quizon's contributions to Philippine culture, arts, and entertainment," she said.
Valte said it is not a non-working holiday.
She added that the proclamation does not require flags to be flown at half staff and no moment of silence will be held Friday.
Valte said the emphasis is on celebrating Dolphy’s life and not his passing.
"The President’s proclamation is in keeping with the wishes expressed by the late Dolphy himself, and his family, that he be remembered not with sadness, but with the same warmth and joy he brought to the lives of millions throughout his career," Valte said in her statement.
'Dolphy's greatest gift'
"Even as we grieve the loss of a cultural icon and a master of his field, we should never forget that Dolphy made generations of Filipinos laugh; he was unparalleled in tapping into our inherently jovial spirit—that both challenges and triumphs could be met with optimism and cheer; and that therefore, this was the greatest gift he gave the Filipino people, and this is the kindness that he will always be remembered for," she added.
The Day of National Remembrance for Dolphy will allow Filipinos to reflect on the late comedian's art and artistry, his kindness and generosity, and deep patriotism, Valte said.
"The President asks all our countrymen to make this Day of Remembrance a celebration of the full life that Dolphy, with utmost generosity, shared with the country," she added.
Valte earlier told radio dzMM that the Palace received several proposals to declare a national day of mourning for Dolphy.
She said the President has the discretion to make such a declaration "if there is something that happens that has a significance on the country."
The Day of Remembrance for the late comedian is neither a regular nor a special holiday. Work and classes in government offices and public schools will not be suspended.
Aquino visits wake
President Aquino also visited Dolphy's wake at the Heritage Park in Taguig City on Thursday to pay his last respects to the Philippines' king of comedy.
Aquino was welcomed by the comedian's long-time partner singer Zsa Zsa Padilla and their daughter Zia Quizon.
The President arrived with Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II to pay respects to the late veteran actor.
On a congressman’s proposal to declare June 10 every year as “Dolphy Day,” Valte said, “We will leave it first to the legislature on how to deal with that particular bill and we’ll study it when it reaches the Executive.”
In 2009, then-President Gloria Arroyo declared 10 days of national mourning following the death of former President Corazon Aquino on August 1, 2009.
All flags in government buildings were flown at half-staff from August 1 to August 10, 2009.
Meantime, friends, fans and colleagues of Dolphy continue to flock to the Heritage Park in Taguig City.
Among those who visited today were Senator Lito Lapid, who co-starred with Dolphy in a number of movies, and former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Fans also brought memorabilia of the Comedy King which they offered to the family.
The wake was open to the public until 3 p.m. Thursday.
It will be open to the public again on Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dolphy died Tuesday after a long bout with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. -- with reports from Willard Cheng and Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News; ANC; dzMM