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Nation commemorates Rizal Day on Thursday

MANILA, Dec. 29 – The nation commemorates the 114th anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal's martyrdom on Thursday (Dec. 30) with President Benigno S. Aquino III expected to lead the traditional wreath-laying and flag-raising ceremonies at the national hero's monument at Manila's Rizal Park.

Like in previous years, Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim and other ranking government officials are expected to join the Chief Executive in paying tribute to Dr. Rizal.

In Quezon City, Mayor Herbert M. Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte will lead similar ceremonies at the Rizal Monument at the QC Hall Compound in Diliman.

Rizal Day is observed in the country in commemoration of the nationalism and martyrdom of Rizal on Dec. 30, 1896.

The celebration is held nationwide, but is centered at the Rizal Park, also popularly known as the Luneta in Manila.

Similar ceremonies are held at the Rizal shrines in Calamba, the hero's birthplace in Laguna; Dapitan City, his place of exile in Zamboanga del Norte; the Rizal Monument in Baguio City and other key areas of the country.

In 2009, National Historical Institute (NHI) Chairperson Ambeth Ocampo sought to move the observance of Rizal Day from Dec. 30 to June 19, which is Rizal's birthday. He sent a letter to Congress seeking approval of two pending bills proposing to move Rizal Day observance to June 19.

House Bill No. 5408 was already passed on third reading by the House of Representatives on Dec. 10, 2008, but it was not acted upon in the Senate.

Moving the celebration date requires amendments to Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987. (PNA) scs/JCA

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