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PhilHealth Joins the Nation in Celebrating Dr. Jose Rizal's 150th Birth Anniversary July 4, 2011

Amidst the heavy rains, many Filipinos, travelers, guests, schoolchildren and some 50 employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) trooped to the Rizal Monument in Luneta to participate in the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of our hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

According to Juliet H. Villegas, Executive Director of National Parks and Development Committee (NPDC), the highlights of the Manila celebration included ceremonial flower offering and the slicing of giant birthday cake which measured 8.0 feet high and 6.5 feet wide.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. who raised the Philippine flag, led the Luneta rites. Also present were NHCP Chairman Ambeth R. Ocampo, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, DOT Secretary Alberto Lim, DepEd Secretary Armin A. Luistro, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, and NCCA Chairman Felipe M. De Leon, Jr.

PhilHealth employees joined the flower offering activity and the mini program. Around 150,000 individuals that included commuters, students, employees, vendors, ordinary bystanders and other park visitors waited for their turn to offer their gifts at the foot of the Rizal Monument.

Likewise, about 10,000 students participated in a fun run at the Quirino Grandstand area dubbed "Takbo ni Pepe" to honor the works and life of Rizal. The activity was spearheaded by Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

Meanwhile, Laguna residents and visitors marveled at the sight of the tallest statue of Dr. Rizal measuring 22 feet, displayed on a 6.7 hectare property located in front of Calamba City Hall Complex. The statue, said to be the tallest in the world, was unveiled by President Benigno S. Aquino III, simultaneous with the Luneta rites.

Dr. Jose Rizal's legacy should inspire us with his sense of honor, talents, passion for knowledge and continuing self-improvement, and that his sacrifice and love for our country should give us the sense of unity and solidarity so that we can become heroes of our times in our own little way. (END)

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