Aquino sounds call for unity amid differences


In solemn rites Sunday morning, President Aquino laid a wreath at the monument of Jose P. Rizal, capping the 116th anniversary of the national hero’s martyrdom and the centennial of the transfer of his remains from Binondo to Luneta Park.

The President said the double celebration challenged Filipinos “to forge unity in the face of differences.”

“This year, we’re marking the 100th year of the interment of our national hero’s remains at the Rizal Park where Filipinos can freely honor his important contribution to the shaping of our country,” the President said in a statement posted on the government website.

“For his memory’s sake, we continue to respond to the challenge of the times: How to weave unity in spite of differences? How to inflame concern for others and flag? We hope that we will be more determined in paddling toward the same direction to achieve the full potential of our national language,” he added.

Also Sunday, the country commemorated the 75th anniversary of the proclamation of the national language by President Manuel L. Quezon.

Quezon proclaimed Dec. 30 National Language Day as “the fulfillment of the cherished aspiration of Rizal.”

21-gun salute

As “Bayan Ko” played, the President, Dr. Maria Serena Diokno of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and Armed Forces Chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa walked toward the monument as two soldiers in gray ceremonial uniform carried the wreath.

Standing erect and facing the monument, the President saluted as cannons fired a 21-gun salute, an honor reserved only for heads of state.

Rizal’s descendants, Amelia Garcia Yulo, Victor Reyes, Malou Villaroman, Marlene Lopez Jacinto and Gemma Cruz-Araneta, among others, stood close by.

Shortly after, a funeral dirge was played.


Minutes earlier at around

7 a.m., as a large crowd gathered at Rizal Park, the President hoisted the flag on the Independence flagpole in front of the monument.

At that hour, flags were simultaneously raised at Rizal shrines across the country.

Besides Diokno and Dellosa, joining the President at the ceremonies were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, supreme commander of the Order of the Knights of Rizal Reghis Romero II and grand master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines Santiago Gabionza Jr.

Sunday’s commemoration of Rizal Day was doubly significant because it coincided with the 100th anniversary of the transfer of Rizal’s remains from the house of his sister Narcisa in Binondo to the Luneta Park, where they were interred in a chamber in the base of the monument on Dec. 30, 1912.

The Knights of Rizal and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines reenacted the funeral march from Narcisa’s house in Binondo to the Luneta Park, with a motorized caisson carrying an urn containing a piece of bone from the hero’s spine leaving the Binondo house at 4 a.m.

After his execution on Dec. 30, 1896, Rizal’s remains were clandestinely buried in Paco Cemetery. After exhumation in 1898, the remains were kept by the Rizal family until Dec. 30, 1912, when these were interred in the foundations of the monument to the hero at the Luneta Park.


During the reenactment of the funeral procession, 12 Knights of Rizal dressed in a copy of their 1912 uniform escorted the caisson. At the head of the funeral march were Rizal’s descendants led by Araneta, great-granddaughter of Maria Rizal and vice chair of Manila Historical and Heritage Commission.

“This reenactment is important, so that we may remember the lessons from our heroes and understand the significance of their sacrifices for our country, lest we forget,” Araneta said.

The funeral party linked up with delegations at Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz and marched to Jones Bridge then turned right to Magallanes Drive to be joined by another host of participants in Intramuros.

Participants assembled in Intramuros carried lit candles and solemnly sang “Pilipinas Kong Mahal.”

The procession proceeded to Bonifacio Drive and was followed by more participants at the Manila Hotel.

After the procession arrived at the Luneta Park at around 5:30 a.m., Romero and Gabionza laid the urn inside the base of Rizal’s monument.

Day’s significance

Later, in an interview with the Inquirer, Marlene Lopez Jacinto, a great-granddaughter of Rizal’s brother Paciano, said: “Every time we think about what [Rizal] went through, there’s still a sense of sadness. Then you realize, what did it amount to? What did he sacrifice for? Where is our country now?”

“With our faith, we always have to have a sense of hope and love and understanding of his sacrifice. I think we should be more reflective on our history, on what our national hero did,” she said.

“Jose Rizal was an utmost example of a Filipino. We are proud of him, not only of his love for country, but also of his genius. And if we have that in us, we can reflect how we can imitate him in our own way,” she said.

Another descendant from Rizal’s sister Saturnina, Victor Reyes, said, “We can all be heroes in our own little ways, like serving our countrymen, loving our family and following the law.”

Rizal bust in Asean Garden

A bust of Rizal was later unveiled at the Asean Garden in Intramuros to mark the 45th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Relatives of Rizal and representatives from the 10 Asean countries attended the ceremony led by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.

“Our presence here today attests to our deep admiration and strong sense of history relative to the valued place of Rizal in the evolution of the Filipino nation,” Foreign Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio said in a speech during the ceremony.

“Rizal remains an inspiration to all of us in the region and in the world. In his aspirations in attaining reform and freedom through peaceful means, he became Asia’s first contemporary nonviolent advocate of nationalism. His devotion and loyalty to his beloved country has underscored the importance of national identity and the value of the rights of the individual,” she said.

Jose Capistrano Jr., head of the Intramuros Administration, said it was significant to install a bust of Rizal in the Asean Garden, which was built years ago to honor the founding fathers of the regional group.

Vietnam has installed a bust of its former leader Ho Chi Minh and Laos has plans to follow suit, Capistrano said.

Language Day

“Our unity springs from understanding one another. We are able to do this through a language that mirrors the heritage of our history and our collective aspirations as one country,” President Aquino said in a statement.

“This day, three generations have passed since President Manuel L. Quezon promoted our national language. After a long discourse and a complicated process, the basis for the birth of Filipino has been set: our national language. To this day, we continue to strengthen our engagement as Filipinos,” Mr. Aquino said.

Quezon deliberately timed the proclamation of the national language with Rizal Day because he hoped for a country that is free and has its own identity, Mr. Aquino said.

“Rizal’s push for a national language symbolizes our own obligations: engage fairly with others, understand the challenges they’re facing, and lift them up so they could overcome these,” he said.

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  • quirinomayer

    As far as I am concerned, there should be no unity with the Catholic clergy aka Padre Damaso until they stop treating the government as a subordinate and the rest of the Filipino people as ignorant and stupid indios, until they learn to respect the separation of state and church and mind their own business.


    • avmphil

      Hope your comment gets more exposed. Malacanang should not be a partisan to the Church. Even the Vatican had seen this, where it all began. Happy New Year to you bro.

  • victorts

    It is easy to call for unity after you had unjustly imposed your tantrums on people who were at a big disadvantage to fight back.

    • abner

       pagka sipa sa mukha sabay sabi na peace na tau..hehehe astig ang panot sa malakanyang.

  • Jeremiah_CheGuevara

    BULL!$#%@(*&? from someone who does not understand it at all!

  • Peter L

    Unity in ideals is a must but never in connivance to betray the Filipino people. Check and balance is necessary to ferret out the truth. The present dispensation believes they can forward their ideals to the detriment of the opposition, Church and other stakeholders. Unity can be achieved if the incumbent president will reach out to each one instead of antagonizing them. The Church people are citizens and should be cooperative to the goals of the government. On the other hand, the Executive Department from the President and his alter-egos are followers of the Church so spiritually they should submit to its authority as the connection to the spiritual God that they both deeply revered. Unless they work out on such compromise, solidarity will always be elusive. My two cents worth.


    Penoy calling for unity ? What a real Donk ! She/he just divided the nation including its body and spirit.

  • lex

    what a hypocrite! all he did the past years was to divide the nation! ano? papogi points na naman? pUt@ng ina m0 abnoy!

  • Bantay

    sanay talaga sa pangloloko ang Gobyernong ito.mismo ang Gobyernong ito ang nangunguna na magkahati hati tayo.nilinlang na naman ang taongbayan.sagwan ka ng sagwan wala naman patutunguhan…malabo magkaisa kung di kayo magbago!!!

  • basyong

    there will be no differences with others if only you know how to forgive.

  • tamumd

    Why does the President even bother extending an olive branch to these power hungry, control freak, senile men in white dresses? If you ask me, it’s a waste of time and saliva. In their delusional minds, they think they’re an extension of the government so they also wanna dip their fingers and dictate how to run it too. To top it off they don’t even pay income taxes. Pffft. I say just completely ignore them until they all get tired or slowly die off of heart attack or stroke from anger. lol They’re all scourge to our progress as a nation. Let’s rub coarse salt on their raw faces by passing the Divorce law next. lol

    • $20722540

      malakas lang an loob ng mga pari at mabuti nga meron pang komocontra kay pnoynoy.  kong wala boring ng magpatakbo ng bansa.  tingnan mo pagsinabi niya, sunod kaagad ang mga politico, kung hindi lagot wala silang election funds at pdaf pdaf.  wag lang pong sisihin ang simbahan sa pagprogres ng bansa at wala silang kinalaman doon.  lahat nasa gobierno yan ni pnoynoy!!!

      • tamumd

        Your clergy and bishops only raise their opposition if the leadership doesn’t kowtow to their whims. Just take for example the case of the previous corrupt administration…they’re so content that the little lady got rid of the death penalty, continued to shelf the RH bill even though they knew she was siphoning funds from the government coffers by allegedly building some imaginary bridges. As a bonus a number of bishops received SUVs funded from money taken from PCSO. Because of those, these bishops completely turned a blind eye on the corruption and didn’t say a thing. Now that they’re not getting any favor from the president..they treat  him like the worst president ever, even though reports of improving economic outlook and investor confidence are all over the paper both locally and internationally.That is how your church drags our progress back to stand still.

      • boldyak

        napunta na naman kay GMA…

      • tamumd

        Mentioning GMA is necessary in order to illustrate the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of these Damasos!

      • abner

         matagal ng nakakulong si gma hanggat nagkakamali si panot…me sisisihin na gma.haha

      • tamumd

        SO what if she’s been on house arrest….can we not talk about her? Sisihan..dapat lang!

      • boldyak

        always mentioning GMA in whatever topic illustrates the consistency of this government…compare and compare and compare…DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND DO NOT REPEAT THE MISTAKE OF THE PREVIOUS ADMINTRATION…that is all this government have to do…stop being a crab,(hahatakin pababa ang iba para makaangat)…STAND ON YOUR OWN FEET…

      • $20722540

        you make it appear that the bishops is now part of the gov’t bureaucracy and the most corrupt…you are barking at the wrong tree.  hey, who  has BILLIONs BILLIONs of pesos of intelligence funds & pork barrel – office of the president, VP has 400MILLION, each senator has 200MILLION, each congressman 70MILLION…yong SUVs ala yan pero napatunayan puro ampaw yong allegations. anong investors confidence mo…question??? meron bang nag-iinvest??? ala pa ngang $1B ang FDI   samantalang Vietnam on a bad year meron ng $10B.  tapes sinisisi mo pa ang simbahan your so called “progress back” anong kinalaman ng simbahan sa papatakboi ng gobierno.  sige pati taas ng mga bilihin, gasoline, mababang suweldo isisi mo sa simbahan para maligayahan ka!!!

      • tamumd

        Isn’t that ironic…the CBCP is not even part of the government yet  corrupt government officials are kowtowing to them to shut them up and don’t say anything even if they know those same officials are stealing from government coffers.

        Those money for the PDAF are part of the government budget. That concept did not just start with Pinoy. that’s been a practice for a long time. Each congressman is given the latitude to decide what kinda project they want to use those money on. Each of them are subject to audit of COA. Anyone of them pocketing the funds are exposed just like what happened in Palawan.

        Hahahaha.. ampaw daw. Kung di napahiya at nabuking… di sinuli yong mga SUVs. You don’t have to fool anyone. The letter of those cunning bishops were exposed…asking SUVs as birthday gifts. What the’s the people’s money. Shameless bunch!

      • Edward

        indeed, little learning is a very dangerous thing…

        You twisted facts and distorted history..funny to u…

      • tamumd

        What learning…. that everyone knows your Mitsubishops asked SUVs for birthday gifts from the little lady president? I didn’t twist any facts..that was divulged in national TV.

      • $20722540

        hey pdaf is no. 1 source of corruption (need i say more) in this country since time in memorial and the no. problem of this country…you shameless guy!!!

      • tamumd

        Hahahaha me shameless? I wish I got hold of those PDAF money. Tell them to send me my share coz I have not gotten it.

      • $20722540

        sorry, senseless ka nga pala…

      • $20722540

        moreso, pdaf was used to get the yes vote, diba? no vote,  no pdaf, no election funds and sanction from the lp…katawa talag ooohoooooH!!!

      • tamumd

        Apparently those PDAF has all been released even before they voted on the 3rd and final reading of the RH bill. So those congressmen already got their share.

    • pizza ria

      you rub coarse salt on your pimpled face!

  • 12JEM

    Unity with priests, bishops, and archbishops whose  ARROGANCE is ghastly?

    This is a difficult proposition.

    • Bert

      Sure, and I don’t think the church will bend his knees pleading for this govt’s special favor.

      Difficult indeed.

      • ramone

        But some members of the hierarchy bent their knees to ask personal favors from Gloria! Don’t you remember this?

      • Bert

        Maybe yes, some members of the hierarchy, but the church, no. At di ba si Pnoy na president ngayon?

  • $20722540

    pnoynoy daw gusto ng unity, ano ka hilo!!!

  • kilabot

    unity in perversity – noykapon. 
    allelujah allelujah  – yellow perverts.

    No to perversion.

  • $14141131

    Lead by example. Stop discrimination against Mindanao people. Run after the corrupt politicians in the storm-ravaged provinces who are the sponsors of illegal logging and mining. Let the massses feel that their is really an anti-corruption campaign – nationwide. These politicians are ilks of GMA when they started all their illegal activities. The regional ombudsman offices are just sleeping on their jobs.

  • Homer Guo

    hindi ba dapat simbahang katoliko dapat ganyan din ang panawagan?…in the spirit of the season.

  • Spy to

    hey Mr. pnoy do you know what you are saying???!!! 
    if the situation against your crook government, then you are calling for this!!! you are so naive and clueless mr pnoy!!!

  • boldyak

    congress, senate and supreme court are already united UNDER HIM…if you oppose you are not in unity with this government…wtf

  • abner

    sabi niya kay gwen, united na kami….haha…alis kana jan. matindi tong panot na to..haha

  • Albert Einstien

    pnoy chinoy……is a typical chinese.. …like what china did…….they took our islands first then they say peace …let’s talk…compromise & reconcile…then after some time they take some more islands & say peace let’s cant get CRAZIER than that …

  • AllinLawisFair

    What is a responsible leader supposed to do in occasions like the death anniversary of a national hero? 

    CALL  FOR UNITY, of course.

    Why should some people question that?

    Dissent and division are essential in a democracy which make it alive and vibrant. The RH Bill, or the RH Law has been a product of the democratic process. It has been deliberated upon by the representatives of the people and approved by the majority of the members of both houses of Congress.

    It was signed into law by the President in a manner which did not call attention to itself in order not to offend those who vigorously opposed it but were defeated instead. 

    The President signed it quietly, without fanfare and blare of bugles so as not to rub salt into the wounds of those who lost in the battle.

    President Aquino wanted to show magnanimity in victory.

    The Church, which should be the source of humility, piety and understanding should at least show gracefulness in defeat.

    It should face the fact that even the great majority of Catholics in this country are in favor of the RH Law.

  • pizza ria

    this president is the very source of disunity and discontent among our people.  does he know what he is talking about?  or he is really a case of noynoying and abnoying? 

  • graciano82

    After you’ve sowed the seed of divisiveness and ill will to grow and bear fruit, you President Aquino in a rabbit’s pace call for unity. What do you think of me, your servant that you can just command at your beck and call. Right from the inception of the RH Bill deliberation where you had already aired you support, I had forgiven you, but it doesn’t mean that I’d be fooled by your make believe kind gesture of burying the hatchet in the guise of enticing me to vote for your senatorial candidates. 

    You’re an instrument of the devil so I have to distance myself in adherence to the teachings in he Holy Bible 

  • Your_King

    He caused the divide then tries to be the hero by calling for unity. Such a walking contradiction is the Philippine President.

    • abner

       ganyan mag isip yan…

      • Your_King

        Really? Or does he even think? Sometimes his decisions seem like it comes from a flip of a coin.

  • Jose Rizal

    Supercondom man is “talking in his sleep”….again.

  • wehd1nga

    NO to Liberal Party and Pro RH candidates, wala pala catholic vote ha, tignan natin ang tigas ng mukha mo sa may 2013 election.

  • nakatutok

    patawarin nyo siya at di niya alam ang kanyang pinagsasabi….he is the very cause of divisiveness and disunity and he has the gall to call for unity??? paging PSG doctors, painumin nyo na ng maintenance meds niya yang alaga nyo…

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