Santa Barbara Plaza, Iloilo
12 June 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III recognized the vital role and contribution of the Visayas region in attaining the country’s freedom as he led the celebration of the 117th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence in Santa Barbara, Iloilo – the first time that such a national event was held in the province.

With this year’s theme, “Kalayaan 2015: Tagumpay sa Pagbabagong Nasimulan, Abot-Kamay na ng Bayan,” President Aquino wanted the nation to know that the liberty the Filipino people is enjoying today is a collective effort borne out of the sacrifices and patriotism of the nation’s heroes not only in Luzon, but in Visayas and Mindanao as well.

In his speech, the President looked back at the time where as an archipelago, the country was divided and struggled because of the limited means of communication. But then came 1898, where the Filipino nation stood as one against the oppressors.

“Nagkaisa ang mga Pilipino at sabay-sabay na ang naging pag-aaklas sa Pilipinas. Patunay po ito: Noon pa man, klaro na sa mga Pilipinong kilalanin kung ano ang tama at mali, at ang tugon nila dito ay ang manindigan sa panig ng katwiran,” President Aquino said.

Likewise, while the country was able to surpass the challenges from the Spanish reign, President Aquino said that there are still trials that the people must endure nowadays, but he believes that through unity and repeating the lessons from history that paved the way to achieve sovereignty, he is certain that Filipinos can overcome the problems today. He assured everyone that his administration is geared towards liberating his countrymen from the binds of poverty and injustice through various government programs all over the region.

These programs include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program where cash grants are given to those in need, and currently 4.4 million households are benefiting from it, 94,190 of which are in Iloilo. Also included is the creation of the Negros Island Region, where an Executive Order was issued to bind Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. Through this EO, the government will be more focused in its budget allocation to the province, creating easy access for the people to government projects.

President Aquino assured the public that as long as the country is in the right path, concrete development will always be within reach. He then called on his “bosses” to always lend a helping hand and contribute to the further improvement of society instead of being a burden.

“Ang panawagan ko lang sa atin ngayon, manatiling nagbibigkis para itaguyod ang kapakanan ng kapwa, lalo na ng mas nangangailangan. Nawa’y gawin nating gabay ang nakaraan, isabuhay ang mga aral na ating natutuhan sa kasalukuyan, upang marating natin ang inaasam nating patutunguhan,” the President concluded.

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