President Rodrigo Duterte will skip the 122nd Independence Day celebration at the Rizal Park in Manila today, Friday, Malacañang said.
Duterte would be unable to lead the Independence Day rites because the number of participants would be limited to 10 people, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a virtual presser aired on the state-run PTV-4.
He raised the possibility that people might flock to Manila in case Duterte graced the event.
“The problem really is when the President goes there, people who want to see him will also go there. That cannot be avoided,” Roque said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed the celebration of Independence Day today despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but only 10 people may join the event.
Roque said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea would lead the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies on behalf of Duterte.
“He designated the Executive Secretary as his representative in the wreath-laying and flag-raising ceremonies,” Roque said.
He said Duterte’s taped video message would instead be played during the ceremony on Friday, and that Duterte would be in his hometown of Davao City on that day.
It was on June 12, 1898, when the Philippines’ independence from Spain was declared at the ancestral house of the first Philippine President, Emilio Aguinaldo, in Kawit, Cavite.
Duterte led the celebration of the 121st Independence Day at the Sixth Infantry Battalion’s headquarters in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, in 2019.
And in 2018 he delivered his first keynote speech for the Independence Day rites at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite.