By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
The new coronavirus pandemic has given this year’s celebration of Independence Day a new meaning, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said, as he honored frontliners for their sacrifices amid the health crisis.
Zamora led the Independence Day commemoration at the Pinaglabanan Shrine on Friday, together with National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Executive Director Restituto Aguilar.
“Giving honor to the sacrifices of our heroes won’t be hindered by COVID-19. The pandemic has given our Independence Day commemoration a new meaning as we also give honor not just to our brave heroes who fought for our independence, but also to our frontliners, who are our modern day heroes,” said the mayor.
The San Juan City government and the NHCP made this year’s commemoration “a simple affair” with the singing of the National Anthem at the San Juan City Hall.
It was then followed by the lighting of the cauldron, which symbolizes the nation’s gratitude towards its fallen heroes, and the laying of wreaths before the Spirit of Pinaglabanan at the Pinaglabanan Shrine.
The historic City of San Juan is considered as the battleground for the first armed clash between Spanish forces and the Katipuneros fighting for the country’s independence.
The Battle of San Juan, which took place in August 1896, is believed to have encouraged other Filipino freedom fighters to take up arms and fight to liberate the country from Spanish colonizers.
This year’s commemoration was simultaneous with the flag raising ceremonies held in other key historical sites in the Philippines.
Wreath-laying ceremonies were also held in four other locations in San Juan. City councilors and barangay officials offered wreaths at the Jose Rizal statue at N. Domingo Street, the Andres Bonifacio statue at Barangay Onse, the Emilio Jacinto statue at Barangay Corazon de Jesus, and the Diwa ng 1896 at the corner of Pinaglabanan and N. Domingo Street.