MANILA (PNA) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, on Thursday
morning, led the 110th Philippine Independence Day celebration at
Rizal Park in Manila, bringing with her government services to the
people such as jobs fair, housing loan assistance, and free medical
services, among others.
The President arrived at the Rizal Park shortly before 7 a.m., which
signaled the start of a simultaneous flag-raising activities across
She also unveiled the marker where the Philippine flag was hoisted
24/7 "come rain or shine,"
On the other hand, Vice President Noli de Castro led the celebrations
at the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, the site of the first
proclamation of Philippine independence.
A housing fair by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating
Council (HUDCC) was also being held there.
Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, along with Senate President
Manuel Villar Jr., attended the flag-raising ceremony at the
Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City.
Favila would also treat some 200 school children for breakfast and
lunch as well as tour them at the Science Discovery Center at the Mall
of Asia in Pasay City.
Presidential Legislative and Liaison Office Secretary Jake Lagonera
together with House Speaker Prospero Nograles attended the
flag-raising ceremony at Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan.
He also led a medical/dental mission and milk and food-feeding program
with Congressional spouses at the Center Food Processing Area, and
attend the inauguration of a school building in Bulacan.
Meanwhile, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)
Secretary Leandro Mendoza along with Chief Justice Reynato Puno
attended Independence Day rites at the Katipunan Monument in Caloocan.
The DOTC chief also led the groundbreaking ceremony for the closing of
the MRT-LRT loop.
He also announced that commuters can avail of free rides at all LRTs
and MRTs from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro led the flag-raising ceremony at
the Mauseleo de los Veteranos dela Revolucion at the Manila North
Cemetery, the resting place of revolutionaries.
He would also go to the Smokey Mountain and oversee a massive cleaning
drive, cleaning and repainting of classrooms, and offer free haircut
to male residents, courtesy of soldiers.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap raised the flag in San Isidro, Nueva
He also led a multi-town caravan under the FIELDS program.
The DA is also inviting farmers to visit any of their regional offices
to learn the various technology transfer programs in agriculture or
avail of free seedlings.
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral, on the
other hand, went to the Pugadlawin in Project 8, Quezon City where she
distributed conditional cash transfer cards and school supplies for
150 schoolchildren in Payatas.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane was in Candon,
Ilocos Sur and visited the Isabelo Abaya Monument in commemoration of
the Cry of Candon of 1898.
He would also oversee the hiring of 10 each of the poorest of the poor
from 42 barangays (villages) for road maintenance jobs under the
Secretary Silvestro Bello of the Office of the Presidential Adviser
for New Government Centers went to Santiago, Isabela and awarded
scholarships to children of farmers and fishermen, among others.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, on the other hand, raised the flag
at the Marcella Agoncillo historical landmark in Taal, Batangas.
He would also distribute some 300 bicycles for the Bike to School Program.
Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye led the
flag-raising at the provincial capitol of Mindoro in Calapan.
He would also award winners of an essay writing contest organized by
National Historical Institute (NHI) Chair Ambet Ocampo said the
President decided to forego with the usual fanfare like the "parade of
floats" during the celebrations to give, instead, direct service to
With the theme â€œRepublic Service Tungo sa Ganap na Kalayaan at
Kaunlaran," this yearâ€™s celebrations also coincided with the launching
of the Sentro K3, which stands for "Kaisahan, Kagalingan at Kalayaan
The Sentro K3 showcased a jobs fair, exhibits by various government
agencies, product display by different regions of the country, sports
and cultural events, and medical assistance held at the park's Plaza
San Lorenzo Ruiz.
It is also a "one stop shop" of services where people can avail of
services offered by participating government agencies in terms of
jobs, housing, health, and investments.
Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Chief Cerge Remonde earlier said
the President "has ordered us to go down to the people and reach the
masses and help improve the delivery of basic services, especially on
our programs to mitigate hunger and poverty."
He said these Cabinet officials will go to areas "with historical
significance" to deliver government services such as free medical and
dental care, job placements, micro-financing, housing, and livelihood
opportunities, among others, to the masses."
Remonde said the objective in this year's celebration was to "bring
the government closer to the people."
For the first time since President Arroyo came to power in 2001, he
said the government will skip its usual Independence Day rites "to
focus on providing services to the people."
A special fireworks display will cap the night celebration of
And as she has done in past Independence Day rites, the President will
give a reception for the diplomatic corps in Malacanang will hold for
the first time since 1981 a rigodon de honor.
Around 20 couples will participate in the rigodon and will include
representatives of the Cabinet, legislature, military, local
governments, and the cultural sector.
Among those dancing the rigodon will be Favila, who is paired with
United States Ambassador Kristie Kenney; former Sen. Vicente Sotto and
Mons Romulo-Tantoco; Secretary Yap and Lani Mercado, wife of Sen.
Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.; and former AFP chief of staff Generoso Senga
and Rep. Rachel Arenas.
- By Lilybeth G. Ison (PNA)