MANILA -- As the Philippines marked the 116th anniversary of the proclamation of Independence, President Benigno Aquino III urged Filipinos on Thursday to elect officials who can fight for the interest of the people two years from now.

Aquino, in a speech during the flag-raising rites in Naga City, Camarines Sur, said that it is the duty of every Filipino to ensure that the country will never return to the conditions of the past - to a situation that once again necessitates the sacrifices of so many Filipinos.

"Bawat isa sa atin ay mayroong maiaambag upang hindi masayang ang isinakripisyo ng ating mga ninuno. Dalawang taon mula ngayon ay kakailanganin na naman nating pumili ng bagong mga pinuno sa ating bansa," he said.

"Ang hamon sa atin: Piliin ang mga kandidatong kayang ipaglaban ang interes ng bawat mamamayan, sa harap ng anumang hamon. Hindi natin kailangan ng magaling bumigkas ng script, mahusay sumayaw, o kaya magaling kumanta. Pananagutan nating mag-iwan ng mas makatarungan at mas maunlad na Pilipinas kaysa atin pong dinatnan," the President pointed out.

Ending corruption and the abuse of the system anywhere in the Philippines — whether in the local or national level — will create stronger institutions that will better serve every Filipino, he added.

The government is currently being hounded by the pork barrel scam.

A number of former and current government officials are being charged for allegedly misusing multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Malampaya Funds during the past years.

Aquino asked the Filipinos to continue to tread the straight path. (SDR/Sunnex)