Monday, 3 August 2009

Philippine President to cut short US trip, declares Aug. 5 special non-working holiday

NEW YORK (via PLDT) (PND) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has decided to cut short her trip in the United States and has declared Wednesday, August 5, as a special nationwide non-working holiday to give the entire Filipino nation proper time and opportunity to grieve and honor the late former President Corazon Aquino.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said former President Aquino, who succumbed to colon cancer early Saturday in Manila, will be laid to rest on August 5.

Remonde read the proclamation which the President signed Saturday (Sunday in Manila) during a media interaction with Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel here.

“I, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo do hereby declare August 5, 2009, Wednesday, to be a special non-working holiday nationwide in honor of the late former President Corazon C. Aquino,” Remonde quoted the President in her proclamation.

Under the Proclamation, the President said it is but proper to give the entire nation “the opportunity to honor and show their respect, appreciation and gratitude to the beloved former President in their own respective ways.”

Before leaving Washington, D.C. the other night, the President also issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1850 declaring a 10-day period of national mourning from August 1-10.

During the period, Ermita said the Philippine flag in all government offices nationwide will be flown at half mast.

In due respect to the death of former President Aquino, Ermita said President Arroyo also decided to cut short her itinerary to meet with investors and overseas Filipinos in Chicago and Guam.

“The President made the decision to cut short her trip so that we will be there in time for the day of interment of former President Aquino,” he said.

Ermita said the President and her official party will leave here tomorrow, Sunday (Monday in Manila), and will arrive early morning of August 5 in time for a chance to visit the remains of former President Aquino.

Upon their arrival, Ermita said a mass would be held in Malacanang in honor of former President Aquino.

The Aquino family, according to Ermita, has decided to forego the offer of state honors in Malacañang and “politely wished that the interment of President Aquino be as simple as much as possible.”

At the start of her speech during the meeting with the Filipino community at the Sheraton Hotel in Newark on Saturday night, the President also offered a minute of silence in honor of former President Aquino.

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