By STAFF REPORTERS
INDEPENDENCE Day celebrations was marred in Chimbu's Gembogl district by an attempt on the life of Governor Fr John Garia by an angry mob, The National reports.
The quick action of three police officers saved Garia after a large crowd turned on him, smashing his vehicle before burning it.
Fr Garia said from Kundiawa last night that he was safe but did not understand the motives behind the attack.
Reports from the provinces last night indicated that other than the Gembogl incident, PNG celebrated the 36th anniversary of Independence peacefully.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill was the man of the hour, presenting himself in Port Moresby, Goroka and Lae to sell his government's policies to capacity crowds.
At the flag raising on Independence Hill early last Friday, O'Neill repeated his pledge that the national government will allocate K300 million in the supplementary budget in November to free education and subsidised education starting next year.
To cheering crowds in Lae and Goroka later in the day, he announced that his government would introduce free education up to Grade 10 and subsidise school fees from year 11 to university level under next year's national budget.
"It is my firm belief that education is the key to the future growth of our country," he said.
"An educated society will be strong, vibrant and healthy. The amount of money we spend on education today will be repaid many times over by a healthy and educated population tomorrow.
"The burden of paying school fees up to Grade 10 will rest with government starting next year. An amount of about K300 million will be earmarked in the supplementary budget for this expenditure."
O'Neill said he had directed the Finance Department to remain open during the Christmas period to ensure funds for each school were transferred directly to them so the schools were prepared when the school year began in 2012.
He declared Lae "the most important city in PNG" because of its strategic importance to the economy. A huge crowd, more than in past celebrations, turned up at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.
At the National Sports Institute in Goroka, O'Neill said despite the advice of consultants to downsize the disciplined forces, the disciplined forces would be reviewed with the aim of doubling, or even tripling, their strength.
He said the increase in the manpower of the disciplined forces was necessary because Papua New Guinea's population was increasing and the government must address that.
He presented K2.7 million to projects in Goroka; among them the Goroka Secondary School and the NSI, which had their science laboratory building and a grandstand razed early this year. They received K5 million each.
The ongoing roads improvements in Goroka town received K5 million while the mobile clinic received K5 million. The Goroka Show Society received K700,000.
In Madang, hundreds of people including students, churches, disciplinary forces and private institutions marched in droves along Modilon Drive capturing the Independence spirit last Friday.
In East New Britain, Governor Leo Dion called on all people to stand together and fight the "evil of corruption" in the next 36 years and beyond.
"It is on this basis that we can chart out the destiny and prosperity of our country."