Despite coronavirus restrictions, President Duterte is set to physically attend the 123rd Independence Day rites on Saturday, his second since he assumed office in 2016.
In his press briefing on Thursday, June 10, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque confirmed that the President will be participating in the Independence Day rites but refused to disclose further details.
“Meron po. Dadalo po, in person, ang Presidente sa komemorasyon ng ating Independence Day (He has a schedule. The President will physically attend the commemoration of our Independence Day),” he said.
“Ito po ay sa labas ng (This will be held outside) Metro Manila but I’m not at liberty to say for security reasons,” he added.
Meanwhile, for his message, Roque said it was certain that Filipinos will risk their lives for the country’s independence.
“Ang mensahe po natin, talagang ang Pilipino, sa mula’t mula, iaalay ang buhay para sa kalayaan ng Inang Bayan (Our message is, Filipinos, from the very beginning, will sacrifice their lives for our country’s freedom),” he said.
This would be the second official Independence Day rites that President Duterte will attend since he assumed the presidency in 2016.
Duterte skipped his first Independence Day event as president in Rizal Park in Manila in 2017. Vice President Leni Robredo, instead, led the wreath-laying and flag-raising ceremonies.
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters back then that the President was not feeling well because he stayed up all night to monitor the then-ongoing Marawi Siege.
In 2018, the President led the Independence Day rites in Kawit, Cavite despite heavy downpours. He, however, was heckled by 10 demonstrators when he started his speech.
The following year, Robredo once again led the commemoration in Rizal Park in Manila as Duterte chose to spend the day with government forces in Lanao del Sur.
Last year, Roque said President Duterte was not able to attend the Independence Day celebration in Manila due to COVID-19 restrictions wherein only 10 persons were allowed in public gatherings in areas under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).