President Rodrigo Duterte will skip the ceremonies for the celebration of the 122nd Independence Day at the Rizal Park in Manila on Friday, Malacañang announced on Thursday.
In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte would be unable to lead the Independence Day rites, considering that the number of participants is merely limited to 10 people.
Roque raised the possibility that people might flock to Manila, in case Duterte graces the event.
“Ang problema po talaga, ‘pag nandiyan ang Presidente, dadami po ang tao na nais lumapit sa kaniya. Hindi po maiiwasan iyan, kahit saan po tayo mag-celebrate, sa Luneta o sa Davao (The problem really is when the President goes there, people who want to see him will also go there. That cannot be avoided, wherever we celebrate, be it in Luneta or Davao),” he said.
Despite the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in the country, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed the celebration of Independence Day on Friday.
However, only 10 persons are allowed to participate in the event. Roque said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, on behalf of Duterte, would lead the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites for the commemoration of Independence Day.
“Itinalaga po niya (Duterte) Executive Secretary para maging representante sa paglalagay ng wreath at flag-raising sa Luneta (He designated the Executive Secretary as his representative in the wreath-laying and flag-raising ceremonies in Luneta),” he said.
Roque said Duterte’s taped video message would instead be played during the ceremony.
Duterte will be in his hometown, Davao City, on Independence Day, Roque said.
It was on June 12, 1898 when the Philippines’ independence from Spain was declared at the ancestral house of the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo, in Kawit, Cavite.
June 12 is declared regular holiday nationwide.
Last year, Duterte led the celebration of 121st Independence Day at the 6th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Malabang, Lanao del Sur.
Duterte in 2018 delivered his first keynote speech for Independence Day at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. PNA.GOV.PH