Rizal at 150, Kalayaan 2011: Truly a people’s celebration PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 June 2011 13:41

This year’s activities commemorating two of the most important historic events in the country will be initiated not only by the government, but by many private groups, as well. In this sense, the observance of the 113th Independence Day, and the 150th birth anniversary of the country’s national hero Dr. Jose Rizal will be unique, according to an official of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, chair of the NHCP, said that the Kalayaan 2011 parade on June 12 will have only one float, but will feature the participation of many cultural and theatre groups, many of which are community-based.

“In terms of a parade, it is (going to be) simpler,” Diokno said. “It used to be that there were numerous floats. Now, we will give more emphasis to cultural performances by theatre and local cultural groups.”

The parade will be held in front of the Quirino grandstand at the Luneta Park at 4 p.m. with President Benigno Aquino III as guest of honor.
“Apart from activities supported by the NHCP or led by government, there will be other activities to be initiated by independent groups,” Diokno said during the Communications and News Exchange (CNEX) Forum held at the Philippine Information Agency in Quezon City.
She said “civic-minded and independent groups” have also lined up activities for the Rizal@150 celebrations.

Among these, she said, is “My Rizal 150,” a group composed of the hero’s descendants and their friends. They will hold a birthday bash for the National Hero at historic Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila on his birth anniversary on June 19.

She said that in the past, it was only government that took charge. Now, there are many initiatives from people and historical societies, or civic organizations. “This means it is not only government that pushes this and coming up with activities,” she said. “I think our role here is to provide support —back them up, partner with them and help them advertise. We need to promote not only activities of government, but equally important, the activities of Rizal organizations and local societies. There are many.”

She also said that these groups, like My Rizal@ 150 are members that are also members or leaders of other like-minded organizations. “There is some interlocking, because you find names common to organizations,” Diokno said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”

Among the activities organized by the agency for the 113th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence on June 12 are simultaneous nationwide flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at 7 a.m. to be led by President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine at Kawit, Cavite; blowing of fog horns, sirens & church bells nationwide; and mega jobs fair and “Parada ng Kalayaan” at the Rizal Park, Manila. --JEROME CARLO R. PAUNAN