PGMA leads 112th Freedom Day rites

June 12, 2010 9:02 pm 

MANILA, June 12 — President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo led the observance of the country’s 112th Independence Day Saturday, kicking off the nationwide celebration with an early morning flag-raising ceremony at the Rizal Monument at the Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila.

The Chief Executive arrived at the Rizal Park flagpole area at exactly 6:45 a.m. where military honors were laid out by the honor contingent of the Presidential Security Group.

She was welcomed by Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit, Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and National Historical Institute Chairman Ambeth Ocampo.

Upon her arrival, the President, who was dressed in an off-shoulder Filipiniana gown made from woven piña fibers, matched by a string of pearls adorning her neck, was accorded full military honors. She was guided in the marching review of troops by Bangit.

After trooping the line, the President then proceeded to hoist the 20-foot by 40-foot Philippine color over the flagpole 107 feet high as the PSG band played the National Anthem. She was assisted by Ocampo, Lim and Bangit, in raising the flag.

All over the country, the early-morning raising of the national color was replicated in varying modes of official celebration.

Close to 500 guests, composed of government officials, employees and members of the diplomatic corps, took part in the flag ceremony, many of whom rendered misty-eyed as the flag ascended the top of the flagpole to the tune of the national anthem.

It was President Arroyo’s last Freedom Day flag activity as Chief Executive as she will be bowing out from her nine-year term on June 30

At 7:00 a.m. after the Flag was hoisted, the President paid her respects to National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal by laying a wreath at the foot of his monument as a military Huey helicopter flew over and dropped fresh red and white rose petals.

After the wreath-laying activities, which lasted for 10 minutes, the President had a simple breakfast at the nearby Bulwagan ng Kagitingan with guests.

The President was joined by Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr., Education Secretary Mona Valisno, Commission on Higher Education chair Emmanuel Angeles, Presidential Management Staff head Elena Bautista, Transportation and Communications Secretary Anneli Lontoc and NHI chair Ambeth Ocampo. (PNA) scs/OPS/rsm

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