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Aquino leads last June 12 celebration

President Aquino leads the celebration of the 118th Philippine Independence Day today, his last as Chief Executive before he steps down from office in less than 20 days.

On the eve of Independece Day, Malacañang called on all Filipinos to remain vigilant and maintain a high level of awareness in ensuring that the country will continue to enjoy its independence.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that Filipinos should reflect not only on the independence fought by our forefathers 118 years ago but also the democracy fought 30 years ago from the hands of a dictator during the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986.

Coloma said the Independence Day celebration is also a time to reflect on how Filipinos can maintain a high level of awareness and vigilance against another dictatorship in the future.

“Kailangan ding maalala at magkaroon tayo ng reflection na kinakailangan talaga ’yung patuloy na pagmamasid at patuloy na mataas na antas ng kamalayan para labanan ang pagsupil sa ating mga karapatan sa isang demokrasya na ating pinagyayaman dahil ito ang pamana sa ating lahi,” Coloma said.

Coloma said that as part of the 118th Independence Day celebration, Aquino will lead the flag raising ceremony at Rizal Park in Manila as well as the Vin D’ Honneur for the diplomatic corps in Malacañang.

It will also be Aquino’s last time to host the Vin d’Honneur in Malacañang.

The Vin d’ Honneur on Independence Day is the second Vin d’Honneur held annually. The first is the New Year Vin D’Honneur.

The term Vin D’Honneur comes from the French practice, which means “wine of honor” and traditionally takes place at the end of inaugurations, speeches, and ceremonies that marks the social life of the French provinces.

In the Philippines, it has become a diplomatic event that features a toast exchanged between the President of the Philippines and the Papal Nuncio, who is the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. (Madel S. Namit)