PRES ARROYO  LEADS OPENING OF RITES FOR 2008  EDSA PEOPLE POWER COMMEMORATION

MALACANANG
, FEBRUARY 22, 2008 (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led this morning the opening ceremonies for this year’s “EDSA People Power Commemoration Week” at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, where she laid a giant wreath of white orchids at the foot of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Met upon her arrival at the Libingan by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Hermogenes Esperon, the President was honored with a 21-gun salute by the Security Escort Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) in their ceremonial rayadillo uniform.

She then trooped the line with Gen. Esperon to the tune of the Kapampangan ditty, “Atin Cu Pung Singsing,” care of the Philippine Army Band, also in rayadillo.

Wearing a red-and-pink pants ensemble, the President laid the wreath after the flag-raising ceremony as a helicopter flew by to drop rose petals onto the hallowed ground.

The wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier kicked off this year’s four-day commemoration of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. The celebration ends on Monday, Feb. 25, which President Arroyo earlier declared as a holiday nationwide.

“It is fitting and proper that we should begin the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of our EDSA People Power Revolution of February 1986 among these simple tombs of our nation’s heroes,” said former President Fidel V. Ramos in his inspirational message.

A lifetime honorary member of the EDSA People Power Commission, Ramos added that by starting the EDSA Week celebrations at the Libingan, “we affirm the inherent linkage of the liberating Spirit of EDSA with earlier episodes of Filipino courage and sacrifice – implicit in the revolutionary ‘Spirit of 1896’ and the defiant ‘Spirit of Bataan-Corregidor of 1942.’”

The 22nd commemoration of EDSA I revolves around the theme, “Kapayapaan at Pagkakaisa Tungo sa Kaunlaran.”

The opening ceremonies were also attended by members of the diplomatic corps, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Taguig City Mayor Sigfriedo Tinga, other government and military officials, and widows and wives of Filipino veterans, among others.

President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1224 in January 2007 declaring Feb. 22-25 of every year as the “EDSA People Power Commemoration Week.” The said automatic annual celebration hopes to “perpetuate and propagate the spirit of the historic and non-violent 1986 People Power Revolution which has gained the respect and admiration of the world.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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