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Military gives arrival honors to ex-President Noynoy Aquino

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines gave former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III arrival and full military honors at Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City on Saturday.

Upon the arrival of Aquino’s remains at around 12:40 p.m., his urn was welcomed by AFP Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana and Philippine National Police chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar.

Aquino’s sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz gave the urn to one of the honor guards.

The full military honors started at around 12:50 p.m.

The national anthem was played by a band while the military gave a 21-gun salute to their former commander-in-chief.

A Philippine flag was placed on top of Aquino’s urn. The urn was then brought by the honor guards to a funeral carriage bedecked with yellow flowers.

A funeral march was given by military officials in honor of the former chief executive.

Yellow flowers were dropped by a Philippine Air Force helicopter before the funeral march started.

In a statement, the AFP said a brigade-sized arrival honors was rendered to PNoy while the military band played the National Anthem.

Sobejana was the military host during the State Funeral and Interment ceremony, and joined by Major Service Commanders of the AFP.

A funeral carriage carried the former President’s urn during the funeral march to the gravesite.

Brigadier General Joel Alejandro Nacnac, director of the AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict, led the AFP General Officers who served as pallbearers who carried the urn for the final prayer.

As Sobejana presented the Philippine Flag to the Aquino family, military camps around the country started their gun salute as a final tribute to PNoy.

Under its Military Regulations, the AFP will observe 30 days of mourning.

A "badge of mourning" will be worn at the left arm sleeves of their uniform above the elbow for 30 days. The national flag will also be at half-staff in all military camps until July 4, the AFP said.

“As the 15th President of the country, President Aquino bore a cross, so few are willing and capable of, as it entailed the biggest sacrifice Filipinos could ever dream to give for their country,” Sobejana said.

“Through him and in him we saw our collective strength and resolve to do and achieve what is best for our country, a responsibility that is not without great cost to a person's mind, body, and spirit,” he added.

Earlier on Saturday, a necrological Mass was held at the Church of the Gesu at the Ateneo de Manila University, Aquino's alma mater.

In a statement read after the Mass, Aquino-Cruz said they will forever be proud of and grateful to the former President for all that he has done.

Aquino passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 61 due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. —with a report from Joviland Rita/KG/LBG, GMA News

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