MANILA, JUNE 15, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Jocelyn R. Uy - Touted as the “land of heroes,” Manila’s Rizal Park now shimmers with an extra glow on evenings.

To mark the country’s 114th Independence Day, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) on Monday night carried out a ceremonial lighting of the Rizal Monument to launch the park’s switch from traditional lighting to LED (light-emitting diode).

The use of a LED bulb is growing in popularity due to its low energy consumption, the quality of its light and its long life—even if it costs as much as 10 times a conventional bulb.

An ordinary incandescent Edison-style bulb consumes 60 to 100 watts over 1,200 hours. LED, producing the same amount of light, consumes only six to eight 15 watts in 50,000 hours.

LED is also considered to be among the “green” products, mostly free of lead and mercury.

While trumpeting the environmental benefits of solar-powered and LED lights, officials also said the 58-hectare Rizal Park deserved to be well-lit because it was hallowed ground where Filipinos died fighting for Philippine independence.

“We are not lighting up Rizal Park because ghosts abound here and because we are scared of the dark. We are doing this because this piece of land is sacred. It was here where many noble Filipinos gave up their lives,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said in a speech.

790 lampposts

“It will be made brighter precisely because we want the entire nation to give it the reverence it deserves,” he said.

NPDC Executive Director Juliet Villegas said the shift from the traditional lighting system to LED would also ease the impact of skyrocketing electric bills on the park’s meager coffers.

Villegas said the park had been paying an average of P1 million in power bills every month with the old “sodium/metal halide” lighting system. LED would slash electric consumption by 50 to 70 percent, she said.

Over 790 lampposts are installed throughout the park, popularly known as Luneta. Under the new P100-million lighting project, 285 lampposts, mostly at the monument site and the central lagoon area, have converted to LED.

The lampposts lighted during Monday’s ceremony were among the 1,000 LED lights targeted to be placed around Rizal Park. About 100 flood lights and 100 stand-alone solar lights are also in the pipeline, Villegas said.

Free Internet access

The lighting project is to be completed next month. By October, park-goers will enjoy another upgrade: a WiMax coverage (similar but wider in coverage than WiFi) would allow them to access the Internet for free. CCTV cameras will also be installed in the park.

At least seven “green restrooms,” whose interiors are made of bamboo, have been constructed in the park.

Villegas said the changes were conceptualized to make Rizal Park a “benchmarking tool” in promoting cleanliness and environmentalism.

“Secretary Jimenez wants Rizal Park to be a model for all tourism destinations in the country, not only in terms of having uniform and user-friendly but also environment-friendly facilities,” she said.

Aside from boosting security around the park, “the lighting project would also help in reducing carbon print,” Villegas said.

No obstruction

Tourism and park officials also assured the public that Rizal Park would remain free of any obstruction.

“If some people are planning to do something that will destroy the sight line of Rizal Park, we will obviously review that very carefully,” Jimenez told reporters. With a report from Inquirer Archives


Independence Day celebrations in Luneta Park - Manila

The Philippines celebrated their 114th declaration of independence. A flag raising ceremony and wreath laying took place at Luneta Park with Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay and Manila city Mayor Alfredo Lim in attendance.



[PHOTO -Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay (R) and Manila city Mayor Alfredo Lim (L) stand before the Rizal Monument during the 114th Independence Day celebrations at Luneta Park in Manila]







[PHOTO- Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay stands before the Rizal Monument during a wreath laying ceremony to mark the 114th Independence Day celebrations at Luneta Park in Manila]




Aquino says apathy eroded democracy Posted June 13th, 2012 by Manila Standard Today & filed under Main Stories.

[PHOTO -FLAG-RAISING. President Benigno Aquino III leads the Independence Day flag-raising at the Barasoain Church historical landmark Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Malacañang/PCOO]

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III marked the country’s 114th Independence Day on Tuesday by saying apathy has eroded Philippine democracy over the years.

In his speech during the flag-raising ceremony at the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, Mr. Aquino said corruption had become prevalent, and not only because more people were greedy for power but also because many Filipinos had become apathetic and had chosen to remain silent.

“Democracy’s light has dimmed because no one wanted to take the initiative to take care of it,” Mr. Aquino said.

“But now that the country is already treading the straight path, we will not allow ourselves to get lost in the darkness of the past. Our Constitution says the strength of the government comes from the people, so it is only just that they reap the fruits of our efforts.”

Mr. Aquino said he could not help but be dismayed that even with the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, there were still people trying to find loopholes in the laws to get away with their selfish intentions.

He then cited the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona, which he said “further strengthened democracy.”

“After all, Filipinos have the right to know the truth, and the right to know that the democratic system is alive and working in the Philippines,” Mr. Aquino said.

“It was a process that once again underscored to all public servants that the power lent to them by Juan dela Cruz comes with responsibilities and accountability.”

Over at the Rizal Park, Vice President Jejomar Binay urged Filipinos to unite to achieve prosperity for all.

He said freedom would not be complete if there were still many Filipinos dreaming to have a good life.

“The President and I know this is an ambitious challenge,” he said.

“Nonetheless, I am appealing to everybody… that we join together with one goal: a better life for every Filipino.”

It was also at the Rizal Park on Tuesday that the Labor Department held its Independence Day job fair, which attracted thousands of jobseekers.

Transport Secretary Mar Roxas led the celebrations in Kawit, Cavite, where the revolutionary and first Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines’ independence from Spanish rule.

But a small group of protesters shouting “fake independence” briefly interrupted Roxas speech before police quickly dispersed them.

Over in Caloocan City, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Mayor Enrico Echiverri led the Independence Day rites, with De Lima saying the Filipinos should not treat their freedom like a trophy and then forget about it.

National Police Chief Nicanor Bartolome said the celebration of the country’s 114th Independence Day was generally peaceful. Joyce Pangco Pañares, Zara de Leon, Macon Ramos-Araneta, Gigi Muñoz-David, Hernz Cuare and Jonathan Fernandez

(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/June/13)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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