NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur: A student from an exclusive school interrupted the speech of President Benigno Aquino 3rd at the anniversary celebration of the Philippines’ 116th Independence Day here on Thursday, saying the country’s leader has not made a difference almost four years into his presidency.
As Aquino was wrapping up his speech, the student rose from the audience and shouted, “Walang pagbabago sa rehimeng Aquino [Nothing has changed under the Aquino regime].”
The President was distracted by the commotion and paused for a few seconds before continuing with his speech.
Police came up with two names in identifying the student—Emmanuel Mijares and Pio Emmanuel Reyes. They put his age at 19, his school as Ateneo de Naga and his group as the militant Anakbayan.
Members of the Presidential Security Group were quick to respond and stopped the young man from further disrupting the event.
The security group did not disclose any information on the identity of the few other Anakbayan activists in the audience.
The teenager faces charges for disturbing public order.
The President, an alumnus of Ateneo de Manila University, led the Independence Day celebration in Naga to commemorate the Quince Martires—the 15 martyrs from Bicol whose deaths inspired an uprising in Camarines Sur against Spanish colonizers.
The university runs Ateneo de Naga and a few other Ateneos across the country.
Taking off from the Independence Day theme of Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago, he paid tribute to the country’s other martyred heroes, who sacrificed their lives to free Filipinos from the foreign oppressors, leading to the proclamation of the country’s independence and the declaration of the First Philippine Republic.
“On this Independence Day, together, we pay tribute to the heroes who fought for what was right and what was just. May they inspire us, as we continue to tread the straight path,” Aquino said.
“Let us take to heart and live out the lesson they have bequeathed to us, that it is care and compassion for our fellowmen that will allow us to realize the aspirations we share as one people. Only in this way can we say that we are truly worthy of their sacrifice, only in this way can we bring about a truly just, truly free Philippines,” he added.
The President was joined by National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairman Maria Serena Diokno, Naga City Mayor John Bongat, Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor Robredo, National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista and other local and military officials.
With Anthony Vargas