New jets, other air assets to fly-by Rizal Park
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces will display 40 of its air assets in the first-ever fly-by during this morning’s Rizal Day celebrations in Manila’s Rizal Park.

The fly-by would include the two newly acquired lead-in fighter trainer jets from South Korea, said Col. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces spokesman.

“We want to make our citizens proud. We want to ignite a sense of pride in every Filipino,” Padilla said.

Also joining the fly-by are 15 SF-260M trainer aircraft, 10 T4-1D planes, eight AW-109 helicopters and three Bell helicopters.

Two of the military’s UH-1H helicopters will rain flowers on the park in honor of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.

President Aquino called on Filipinos to follow the footsteps of Rizal and abide by the principles of the “straight path” governance if a rosy and progressive future for the Philippines is to be achieved.

“Let us all be heroes in our own way, and reaffirm our commitment to daang matuwid (straight path). Only by traversing this road towards fairness and progress can we translate our dreams into tangible realities for our people,” he said in celebration of Rizal Day today.

Aquino will be leading at 8 a.m. the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies in Rizal Park to commemorate the 119th anniversary of the martyrdom of Rizal, who was executed in the park known as Bagumbayan under Spanish regime.

This year’s theme is: “Rizal 2015: Dangal ng Pilipino, Gabay sa Pagbabago.”

A National Historical Commission of the Philippines employee shows the ophthalmologist business card used by national hero Dr. Jose Rizal when he stayed in Hong Kong from 1891 to 1892. KRIZJOHN ROSALES

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Hernando Irriberi, Historical Commission chair Ma. Socorro Diokno and Order of the Knights of Rizal supreme commander Jeremias Singson, among others, will join Aquino in the event.

In his yearly message, Aquino wished that Filipinos would be inspired by Rizal’s “courage and intelligence, sense of duty, hunger for knowledge, passion for reform and undying love of country.”

“I wish you a happy and meaningful celebration. Dr. Jose Rizal worked hard to pursue our independence, serving as a catalyst for change. His works remain relevant to this day, a reminder of a past when freedom seemed beyond our reach,” Aquino recalled.

Meanwhile, Sen. Loren Legarda said Filipinos should emulate Rizal’s philosophy and commitment to environmental care and management.

“Dr. Jose Rizal is known to us as a man of incredible intellectual power who fought for our freedom through his pen, books and knowledge. But, unknown to many, Rizal had keen devotion to environmental planning,” Legarda said.

She pointed out that Rizal helped plan Zamboanga City by building fish pens, constructing an aqueduct that provided people with clean water, using coconut oil lamps to light up streets and planting numerous trees during his exile in Dapitan.

“The most fitting tribute to this distinguished man is to continue his work of caring for the environment by introducing innovative solutions to environmental problems. We have many of the best environmental laws but most of them are not being fully implemented,” Legarda said.

Sen. Nancy Binay said the present generation should continue Rizal’s fight to eradicate poverty, lack of education and inequity in the country. – With Delon Porcalla, Tina Mendez

A NATIONAL HISTORICAL COMMISSION OF THE PHILIPPINES ACIRC AQUINO ARMED FORCES DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN DR. JOSE RIZAL HERNANDO IRRIBERI QUOT RIZAL RIZAL DAY RIZAL PARK
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