President Benigno Aquino III led the nation in paying tribute to the country’s national hero Dr. Jose Rizal who celebrates his 150th birthday on June 19, 2011.
To formally kick-off the celebration, he led the flag-raising ceremonies at the Rizal ancestral home compound and offered a wreath at Rizal’s statue as a boy. A 21-gun salute in honor of the national hero was accorded by members of the Presidential Security Group.
The President enjoined the Filipinos to emulate Rizal’s heroism and praised him for choosing to do the right thing. “Rizal could have used his wealth and education to become rich and marry any girl he fancied, but he chose to correct the injustices done to the motherland.. Even with the crossroads that he faced, Rizal never strayed away from the right path.” Aquino said.
Furthermore, he adds “For most people, heroism is measured by how we face our everyday struggles.”
The President was presented with five commemorative tokens for the Jose Rizal @ 150 celebration. These are; a certificate of restoration of the Noli Me Tangere by German Ambassador to the Philippines Christian Ludwig Weber Lorssch; the e-Rizal tablet from Gov. Ejercito; a “Rizal at 150” commemorative medal from Central Bank governor Amado Tetangco, Jr.; a “Rizal at 150” commemorative stamp from Post Master General Antonio de Guzman; and a book on the “Lineage, Life and Labors of Jose Rizal” by Tulay Foundation chairman Manuel Chua.
Later, the president unveiled the tallest statue of Rizal together with local officials of Calamba, the hometown of Rizal. The 22-foot bronze monument designed and created by Jonas Roces of Marikina stands on a 6.7-hectare property in front of the Calamba City Hall complex.