PSG serenades Rody at Tarlacâs Christmas event

A peacock-shaped belen, the entry of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the 9th Belenismo sa Tarlac, is seen in front of Camp Servillano S. Aquino in San Miguel, Tarlac the other night. The entry won the grand prize in the non-municipal category of the annual Nativity scene contest. President Duterte awarded winners during a ceremony held at Hacienda Luisita. RUDY SANTOS

PSG serenades Rody at Tarlac’s Christmas event

(The Philippine Star) - December 13, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte got a surprise from his security detail when the Presidential Security Group (PSG) serenaded him during the awarding of the belen (Nativity scene) making contest in Tarlac at the Hacienda Luisita Sunday night. 

Duterte was seated beside military and police officials when 30 members of the PSG came up on stage to serenade him with the song “Munting Sanggol” by Ryan Cayabyab. They received the presidential thumbs up.

“We look at the PSG as the protector of the President, so you are seeing the other side,” said PSG spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Aquino.

“We only organized the group last Dec. 4 because we had a very busy schedule as we had to go to Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and other parts of Mindanao. This is very special for the President knowing that the PSG is not only his protector, but can also sing in front of thousands of people,” he added.

Duterte and Issa Cojuangco-Suntay, one of the owners of Hacienda Luisita, awarded the grand prize of P100,000 plus trophy to San Clemente town. Its entry was a belen made of bamboo and recyclable plastic materials. San Clemente Mayor Elma Macadamia received the award.

The North Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines also joined the belen-making contest. Its entry was made of abaca, plastic and native materials. Its entry won the grand prize for non-municipal category. Lt. General Romeo Tanalgo of Nolcom received the award.

This year’s Belenismo sa Tarlac, the province’s annual belen making contest, featured 47 entries competing in five categories: community, church, monumental, grand municipal and non-municipal.

The entries are displayed along municipality roads and the MacArthur Highway.

The contest aims to showcase Tarlaqueños’ artistry through native, regional, modern and biblical interpretations of the Nativity scene.

The province of Tarlac has been the “belen capital of the Philippines” since 2007 and Belenismo sa Tarlac has been a calendared event. 

At the event, the President admired the belen at the main entrance of Camp Servillano Aquino which features a colorful peacock tail spread out in protection of the statues of the holy family. It was among the major winners in the Belenismo annual competition.

“I like the rapport of the police and the military in this area, and I like how everyone is connected in their effort to come up with beautiful belens. I would like to cite how much effort the police and military exert through the years in order to participate in this tradition,” Duterte said in his speech during the awards night for the 9th Belenismo sa Tarlac.

Belenismo was a project Aquino often attended during his six-year presidency. Each of Tarlac’s 17 towns and one city participated with nativity displays in their localities.

Duterte handed the awards to the winning participants in five categories: community, church, monumental, grand municipal (local government units) and grand non-municipal (government agencies and business establishments).

He also joined guest singers Chad Borja, Eugene Villaluz and Ding Mercado in singing “Ikaw,” a song he was said to be fond of.

The President also lauded the Tarlac Heritage Foundation for sustaining the project which, he noted, showcased the talents and creativity of Tarlac folk.

Foundation co-founder Suntay said the nativity project that her foundation initiated in 2007 has become “globally famous.”


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