Binay, Erap lead Rizal Day celeb in Luneta

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Monday, December 30, 2013

VICE President Jejomar Binay and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada led the 117th anniversary of the death and martyrdom Dr. Jose Rizal in Luneta on Monday.

The two leaders of the United Nationalists Alliance (UNA) together with members of the Knights of Rizal, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and decendants and relatives of the national hero led the flag raising and wreath laying ceremony in front of the statue of the country's national hero which is also celebrating its 100th year.

History behind the statue

Rizal's monument created by Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling began its construction in 1908 in Switzerland.

According to Dr. Jose Victor Torres, history professor at the De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST), the monument took five years to construct in Switzerland before it was shipped to Manila.

Torres said that in December, 1912, the remains of Rizal were transferred from the Rizal residence in Binondo to the proposed site of the monument and placed in the foundations.

In 1901, Philippine Commission Act No. 243, dated September 28, 1901, approved a budget for the allocation of a piece of land at the Luneta for a monument to be built with a statue of Rizal and to serve as his tomb.

Torres noted that to fund the project, a Rizal Committee was then set up to raise funds from public solicitations led by its members Paciano Rizal, the national hero's brother and Pascual Poblete.

The committee later held a design contest for the future monument and in 1905, the art competition was announced with a P5,000 prize and a P100,000 contract.

Torres said that 40 artists joined the competition and 10 finalists were chosen. The scale models of the monuments were put on display in the Ayuntamiento in Intrmuros where the judging took place.

Torres explained that during the awarding, the first prize was actually given to Italian sculptor Carlo Nicoli of Carrara, Italy with his "Al Martir de Bagumbayan" while second (with P 2,000 cash prize) to Kissling with his "Motto Stella."

But the historian noted that the budget for construction of the first prize winner seemed to have been too small for Nicoli, causing him to backed out of the contract.

The project was later given to the second prize winner - Kissling.

The completed monument was unveiled during Rizal 17th death anniversary in 1913.

Aquino led celebration in Tarlac City

For his part, President Benigno Aquino led the Rizal Day rites in the province of Tarlac City.

Aquino led the flag-raising ceremony in Rizal Park in Tarlac the same time Rizal was shot.

The ceremonial raising of the Philippine flag happened simultaneously in the whole country.

New gov't webpage

The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) launched a special page as a contribution to the Rizal Day 2013 commemoration on December 30.

It is a collaboration of the National Library, National Historical Institute, architectural scholars and historians, the National Parks Development Committee and heritage enthusiasts from all walks of life. (Sunnex)

Local news

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