PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday joined the nation in celebrating the country’s 120th anniversary of its independence, calling on Filipinos to emulate our heroes to bring “meaningful and lasting change” in the society.
In his Independence Day message, Duterte said Filipinos should value the sacrifices of our heroes, saying “this historic day forms the foundation of the liberties we enjoy today.”
“I join the Filipino people in celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence… Through the patriotic fervor shown by our forefathers, we have freed ourselves from colonial subjugation and proved to the world that we stand united as the pioneer of republican democracy in Asia,” Duterte said.
“May solidarity and heroism exhibited by our ancestors fuel our desire to spur meaningful and lasting change in our communities as we collectively battle the social ills of corruption, illegal drugs and criminality that impede our progress as a nation,” he added.
The President said the country’s journey to freedom was achieved through the Filipinos’ sweat, blood, and the ultimate act of selfless sacrifice.
“By cherishing the sovereignty that is borne out of the sweat and blood of our heroes, we stand firm and unwavering in our conviction to create a brighter and better future for all Filipinos-regardless of their status in life,” Duterte said.
“Inspired by the sacrifices of those who have bravely stood before us, may we also find the courage to defend our cherished democratic ideals now and in the years to come,” he added.
Duterte is scheduled on Tuesday to take part in the main Independence Day rites in Kawit, Cavite, where Philippine independence was first proclaimed in 1898.
Last year, the President skipped the Independence Day rites at the Rizal Park, with his spokesman saying the Chief Executive was attending to the nation’s “challenges.”
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni Robredo” instead led last year’s Independence Day rites while Duterte was represented by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
It could be recalled that Duterte had called off the hosting of the traditional Vin d’Honneur for the diplomatic corps at Malacañan Palace to attend to matters concerning Mindanao, which has been placed under martial law.
It was June 12, 1898 when Philippines’ first president, General Emilio Aguinaldo, proclaimed the Philippines’s sovereignty at his ancestral home now known as the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine.
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