Austere but meaningful celebration on June 12
Instead of the multimillion-peso fleet of floats trotted out in past celebrations, only one will be seen at Rizal Park on June 12, along with electric tricycles showcasing the use of earth-friendly fuel.
The first Independence Day celebration of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration will be the “simplest” seen in years, according to Ma. Serena Diokno, chair of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and of the 2011 Kalayaan National Organizing Committee.
“That’s one of the first things I asked for when I took over. I said, ‘Life is hard these days, let’s not be too grand.’ They assured me [we’ll have only] one float,” Diokno told reporters on Tuesday.
The nation’s 113th Independence Day will be marked on a P10–million budget. The principal rites will be held in Kawit, Cavite, where President Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spanish rule in 1898, and at Rizal Park in Manila.
“Do you know that last year, there were like two dozen floats? And each cost hundreds of thousands [of pesos]. This year, we have one float, and the rest is a parade of street performers from different communities,” Diokno said.
“We stuck to our budget, which is very small,” she said.
The daylong celebration is aimed at stoking national pride among Filipinos.
“The concern of the NHCP is for the public to not only join the celebration but also appreciate the importance of our independence,” said Diokno, a long-time history professor at the University of the Philippines.
“I like to tell my students that those who fought for our freedom were almost their age, barely in their 20s. Sometimes we forget, amid all the parades, wreath-laying, the different rituals, [that our] history is very rich and exciting,” she said.
Mr. Aquino is to deliver his Independence Day message during the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Cavite—a deviation from the traditional June 12 address at Rizal Park’s Quirino Grandstand.
“The information we have from the Palace is that he prefers to deliver his speech in Kawit,” Diokno said.
Similar activities will be held simultaneously at Rizal Park; Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan; Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion at the Manila North Cemetery; Gat Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City; Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City; Pamintuan Mansion in Angeles City; and sites in Davao and Cebu cities.
In the afternoon, the public will see a parade of electric tricycles at Rizal Park, which is aimed at promoting the Philippine Energy-Efficient Project.
The celebration will end with the emergence of the “Inang Bayan” float, which will feature outstanding Filipinos from various fields.
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