FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – His Excellency President Benigno C Aquino III spearheaded the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at the Libingan ng mga Bayani here honoring our national heroes, today (Aug 27) at 8:00 a.m.
Aquino was joined by the Defense Secretary Voltaire T Gazmin and the AFP chief, General Jessie D Dellosa. The event was witnessed by members of the Diplomatic Corps, cabinet officials, local chief executives, foreign dignitaries, and a crowd of attendees including soldiers, Girl Scouts and pupils from nearby schools.
Upon his arrival, a 21-gun salute from the Honor Guard battalion composed of units from the three service branches, greeted the President . Escorted by Dellosa, he immediately proceeded in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where he led the wreath-laying ceremony in honor of all departed heroes who are part of over 47, 600 individuals who are interred inside the 117-hectare facility.
With the theme,“Pilipinong tapat, magiting, at makabayan: Ikaw ang bayani sa Tuwid na daan”, the commemoration calls on every Filipino to be heroes in their own way in all circumstances. It was not only about remembering the heroism of our combat heroes, but also recognizing the modern day heroes --- the ordinary folks who risked their lives during disasters and other events.
In her welcome remarks, Taguig City Mayor, Maria Laarni Lopez-Cayetano said that heroes had emerged during the recent Habagat that wreak havoc in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“Sa mga pagsubok na ito nakakita tayo ng mga bayani, mga kawani ng pamahalaan sa nasyonal at local na antas na hindi natinag ng hangin at ulan hatid ng Habagat. Nagsilbi, sumagip, bumangon,” she said.
In his speech, Aquino said that the occasion was also offered to those who might have lost the fight but stood for their principles and gave us examples to do what is right.
“Iniaalay din natin ang okasyong ito sa mga bayaning nabigo man sa laban ay nanindigan pa rin sa katwiran, at binigyan tayo ng magandang halimbawa upang gawin ang tama. Dahil higit sa anumang bagay, sinusukat ang ating tagumpay hindi sa yaman, sa dami ng medalya o sa katanyagan, kundi sa ating prinsipyo, at sa halaga ng ating nagawa para maiangat ang ating kapwa” he said.
Aquino alsosaid that he considers as heroes the ordinary people who face the challenges, hardships and complexities of this extraordinary time.
“Sila ang mga karaniwang taong humarap sa mga pagsubok ng isang di-pangkaraniwang panahon. Sila ang mga tinimbang, sinukat, at hindi nagkulang. Sa panahon man ng pananakop ng mga dayuhan o sa pagmamalabis sa kapangyarihan; sa panahon ng mga kaguluhang dulot ng masasamang elemento o sa paghagupit ng mapaminsalang bagyo; hindi nila ipinapahamak ang kapwa, binibigkis nila ang Pilipino upang lampasan ang bawat pagsubok,” Aquino added.Aquino concluded his speech with a call to every citizen to join him in his continued call for “Tuwid na Daan”, saying:
“Nananalaytay sa dugo natin ang diwa ng bayanihan. Kaya nga tinawag na bayani ang mga tinitingala natin: sila ang nagpaalab sa mga damdaming nagbuklod sa mamamayan, at naging tulay upang makamit ang nagkakaisang layunin ng buong bayan. Ang isang makatarungang bansa ang magbibigay-saysay sa ipinaglaban ng ating mga bayani; ito rin ang nais nating patunguhan sa tuwid na daan, at nais ipamana sa susunod na henerasyon ng Pilipino. Sama-sama po nating ipaglaban ito".
A home to heroes
The LNMB serves as tribute and resting place not just for the Filipino soldiers, but also for citizens who are considered as heroes and martyrs. It is a home to deceased Presidents, Dignitaries, National Artists, Scientists, Boy Scouts, and AFP Chiefs of Staff.
Among those interred are two past Presidents including Carlos P Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal.
There are 20 Dignitaries, 40 National Artists, nine AFP Chiefs of Staff, and 200 Generals buried in these hallowed grounds, and also thousands of soldiers who perished in the 2nd World War and the Korean War.
Up to this day, the LNMB is the preferred burial place for our present day combat heroes. It is also the burial site for the seven Medal for Valor awardees, and many other soldiers who perished while battling against insurgents all over the country.
The latest combat hero to be interred here was Cpl Jose Marvin V Talamante, who died while fighting the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sumisip, Basilan on July 26.
(Note: Photos are taken by TSg Jess Nermal and Cpl Marlon San Esteban)