PNoy leads Independence Day rites for the last time

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2016 11:10 AM | Updated as of Jun 12 2016 11:33 AM

MANILA - Outgoing President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday presided over Independence Day activities for the last time, as he prepares to bow out of office after assuming the presidency in 2010.

Aquino arrived at the Rizal Park in Manila at past 8 a.m. for the 118th Independence Day celebrations.

He was welcomed by Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estada, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gloriosio Miranda.

The President then proceeded to lead the the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites for the celebrations, which carried the theme "Kalayaan 2016: Pagkakaisa, Pag-aambagan, Pagsulong."

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, showcased its power through a flyby during the rites.

Air Force helicopters, trainer planes and two FA-50 fighter jets flew in formation over the park.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, members of the outgoing Cabinet of Aquino and war veterans were also among those who commemorated Independence Day at Rizal Park.

Aquino also attended the launching of the coffee table book, "A Sense of Nation: The Birthright of Rizal, Bonifacio and Mabini", by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

The President will also host the traditional Vin d' Honneur for the Diplomatic Corps at Malacañang on Sunday morning.

Instead of addressing the diplomats Aquino is set to speak to the nation.

Aquino will step down from office at noon of June 30. President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will be sworn in as 16th Philippine President on the same day.

OTHER FESTIVITIES

Simultaneous flag-raising rites were also held in key cities nationwide, including Kawit in Cavite, Malolos City in Bulacan, Angeles City in Pampanga, Davao City, Cebu City and several other parts of Metro Manila.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales was guest of honor and delivered a keynote speech during the Independence Day commemoration at the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, where the country’s independence was first declared.

Morales and Cavite Mayor Reynaldo Aguinaldo led the flag-raising ceremony there and also laid a wreath at the hero's tomb.

It was in 1898 when General Emilio Aguinaldo first declared the sovereignty of the Philippines at his ancestral home, which would later be known as the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine.

Aguinaldo's grandson, Angelo, read out a portion of the Declaration of Independence at Sunday's commemoration.

Joining the festivities was war veteran Alejandro Sabater, 83, who shared that he knew Aguinaldo.

As part of Sunday's celebrations, the Department of Labor and Employment also mounted a job fair at the Luneta Park.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said over 22,000 local and overseas jobs are up for grabs in the Kalayaan 2016 Job Fair.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), meanwhile, offered free rides on the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 from 7 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will also offer free rides on the Pasig River Ferry from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- With reports from Primy Cane, ABS-CBN News; Robert Mano, dzMM