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CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan-President Rodrigo Duterte was in this city today where he led the commemoration of the declaration of the country’s 123rd Independence Day in front of the Bulacan provincial capitol on Saturday.

The province also commemorated the country’s independence via a simple, meaningful and historic celebration but still with restrictions for the second year as the country is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic

Duterte led the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony at the monument of Marcelo H. Del Pilar, where he was joined by local officials of the Bulacan provincial government headed by Governor Daniel Fernando and Vice Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado.

Following the wreath-laying, the Order of Lapu-lapu was awarded to the descendants of Marcelo H. Del Pilar and Gen. Gregorio Del Pilar, which was received by their second-generation niece, Marita Del Pilar-Santos.

Also present were Senator Lawrence “Bong” Go, Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Bulacan representatives, Bulacan City and Municipal mayors, and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar.

The President said he joined with pride and joy all Filipinos in celebrating the 123rd anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence as he wanted to raise the Philippine as many times as he can and celebrate it in their (Filipino heroes) hometowns.

“Saludo ako sa ating mga kababayang bayani, these two sons of Bulacan, who continue to inspire succeeding generations of Filipinos, should cherish the liberties and freedoms that they hope for. I therefore consider it in great honor to bestow upon them through their kin who are with us today the Order of Lapu Lapu in recognition of their extraordinary acts and heroism that serve as the foundation of this nation.”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte lead the commemoration of the 123rd anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence with local officials headed by Governor Daniel Fernando and Vice Governor Willy Sy-Alvarado held in front of the Bulacan Provincial Capitol at the monument of Marcelo H. Del Pilar on Saturday afternoon. Photo PIA-Bulacan

On behalf of the Filipino people allow me to convey our heartfelt gratitude to Gen. Gregorio H. Del Pilar and Marcelo H. Del Pilar. Marami pong salamat sa inyong dalawa,” Duterte said.

Duterte also announced the proposed “Wall of Heroes” to be built at the Libingan ng mga Bayani where the names of all the medical front liners who died of COVID-19 will be carved at the shrine’s wall.

Early that morning, Governor Fernando and other local officials together with guest Rosario Sapitan, chief administrative officer of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) led the pre-celebration held at the grounds of the historic Barasoain Church without the traditional program and speeches of the public officials since the province is still under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Only a limited number of persons were allowed inside the patio of the Barasoain Church to strictly observe social distancing. After the flag-raising ceremony, it was followed by the oath to the national flag and wreath-laying ceremony at the monument of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippines.

The occasion adopted the theme “Diwa ng Kalayaan sa Pagkakaisa at Paghilom ng Bayan” where the governor acknowledged the medical and health frontliners as the current heroes in the country’s fight against COVID-19.

Inaaalay natin ang pagdiriwang na ito sa mga bayani na ipinaglaban ang ating kasarinlan sa mga mananakop at sa mga buhay na bayani ngayon, ang mga medical at volunteer front liners na patuloy na lumalaban sa kalabang hindi nakikita,” Fernando said.

The governor also thanked President Duterte for choosing to commemorate Independence Day in Bulacan province this year.

Maraming salamat mahal naming Pangulo dahil napili ninyo ang aming lalawigan na dito gunitain ang araw ng kasarinlan at pagtataas ng watawat ng Pilipinas sa kauna-unahang pagkakakataon,” the governor added.

On this day in 1898, the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo, declared the country’s independence from Spain in a ceremony at his ancestral house in Kawit.

It was in accordance with Proclamation No. 28, s. 1962 or “Declaring June 12 as Philippine Independence Day” signed by former President Diosdado Macapagal.

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