30 December 2015

President Aquino leads Rizal Day rites
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday led the commemoration rites for the 119th death anniversary of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, at the Luneta Park in Manila.

Shortly before 8 a.m., President Aquino arrived at the Rizal Park where he was given full military honors with a 21-gun salute.

He was received by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief General Hernando Iriberri, and Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada.

After he was ushered in front of the flagpole at the Rizal National Monument, the President led the flag-raising ceremony at exactly 8 a.m.

The flag-raising rites were done simultaneously nationwide.

Vice President Jejomar Binay and other ranking military and government officials joined the President in raising the flag, which was later flown at half mast for Rizal’s death anniversary.

At the last note of the Philippine national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang”, the two newly acquired FA-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets conducted a high-speed pass, as one of the event’s highlights.

After the flag-raising ceremony, the President proceeded to the foot of Rizal’s monument to lay a wreath.

He was joined by General Iriberri and National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chair Maria Serena Diokno.

Following the wreath-laying ceremony, two UH-1D helicopters showered flower petals over Rizal Park.

Before the ceremony ended, a full fly-by was conducted by 10 Cessna Trainer T41s, 15 Stelio Frati (SF) 260FHs, three Combat Utility Helicopters, five Augusta Westland (AW) 109 Helicopters of the Philippine Air Force, and three AW 109 Helicopters of the Philippine Navy.

The fly-by was capped by another high-speed pass of the two fighter jets, which the government acquired from South Korea.

After the event, the President had a brief conversation with the descendants of Rizal. PND (jb)

President Aquino honors Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc during necrological service
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday night attended the necrological service for editor-in-chief of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, recognizing her contributions to restoring democracy in the country.

In his eulogy, delivered at the Heritage Park in Taguig City, the President honored Magsanoc, whom he fondly referred to as “Tita Letty”, as “one of the stalwarts of the mosquito press” and as one of the “women who, at times, were seemingly braver than the men in standing up to the Marcos dictatorship”. 

Under her watch, he said, the Panorama transformed from an innocuous Sunday magazine into a publication that dared to question the regime.

Magsanoc also joined the team behind Mr. & Ms. Special Edition, which made history, as it “dared to chronicle what the controlled media denied”, he added.

President Aquino noted that when there was a need for a truly independent broadsheet to challenge the controlled press, Eggy Apostol and Magsanoc launched the Philippinr Daily     Inquirer, with the latter giving the newspaper its name. She eventually took the helm of the broadsheet in 1991 as editor in chief. 

“The dictator went into the snap election not only with guns, goons, and gold, but with a controlled press to sing him praises. Even then, he knew that the buzz of the mosquito press had turned into a thunderous roar for democracy, for truth, for justice,” he said.

“In a matter of weeks, the Marcos dictatorship ended at EDSA. It was at that moment that the Philippine Daily Inquirer established itself as the country’s journal of record, with the headline that summed it all up: ‘It’s all over: Marcos flees’.”

The President praised Magsanoc for publishing fearless yet balanced stories in the Inquirer.

He noted that while he has been criticized by the Inquirer, the publication has not deviated from its obligation to keep the people informed about the developments in the country.

“When Tita Letty was around, I knew that my side—the government’s side—would be heard—not because she was my friend, but because she wanted to do right by the Filipino people,” President Aquino said.

Magsanoc passed away last Thursday, Christmas eve, at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City after suffering cardiac arrest. She was 74.

A friend of former president Corazon Aquino, the President’s mother, Magsanoc is remembered as an icon in Philippine journalism. PND (as)