President Rodrigo Duterte canceled his attendance at the celebration of the 155th birth anniversary of the “Great Plebeian” Andres Bonifacio in Caloocan City because he had to fly to Mindanao to attend to the problem of insurgency there, Malacañang said Friday.
The 73-year-old Duterte, who also did not attend last year’s anniversary rites, was supposed to lead the wreath-laying ceremony at the Bonifacio Monument expected to be attended by Armed Forces chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. and National Historical Commission chairman Dr. Rene Escalante.
In a related development, Vice President Leni Robredo, who flew to Nepal to attend this years' Asia-Pacific |Summit today, called on Filipinos to relive the ideals of Bonifacio, saying “I am one with the entire Filipino people in celebrating the birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio.”
“Bonifacio’s life demonstrates how an ordinary Filipino can do extraordinary things for the country. Born to working-class parents in Tondo, Manila, he and his family had to work for everything they had.
At age 14, he had to stop schooling to provide for himself and his family because of the death of his parents,” she said in her message.
“Almost 15 years later, Bonifacio began his life of political activism. He revived the La Liga Filipina after Jose Rizal’s arrest, founded the Katipunan, and eventually led the group through the Philippine Revolution,” she added.
She urged the Filipino people to emulate Bonifacio’s heroism and bravery.
“He showed us what it means to persevere in the midst of hardships and to sacrifice because Filipinos deserve better. He believed that we should have a government that puts the interests of the Filipino first before foreigners and that no price is too high for the freedom of our country,” she said.
“Today, let us all remember everything he did for the nation and for our countrymen. May each of us embody the spirit of patriotism that Bonifacio exemplified in our everyday lives and contribute, in our own way, to the betterment of the Philippines.”
In the Senate, senators urged Filipinos to exemplify Bonifacio’s patriotism.
De Lima, a known human rights and justice activist under detention, made the call and said it was important for the Filipinos to learn from his values and follow his lead, especially during these challenging times.
Bonifacio founded the Kataastaasan Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Katipunan)―the first nationalist revolutionary movement in Asia―in 1892 to put an end to the Spanish rule.
She lauded Bonifacio’s determination, especially with how he treated his life challenges as an added motivation and inspiration to fight for the common good.
“Kahirapan. Karahasan. Katiwalian. Pagkakait sa karapatan ng Pilipino at pang-aabuso ng gobyerno. Pagmamahal sa Inang bayan,” she stated.
Citing a famous line from Bonifacio’s poem “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa,” De Lima said one’s love for the country should inspire every Filipino to oppose what she called the oppressive policies of the current regime and speak out against injustices.
Senator Joel Villanueva took to Instagram his message for the “Father of the Philippine revolution.”
“Let us exemplify Bonifacio’s love for our country that freed our nation from colonial rule and granted us independence. Mabuhay si Gat Andres Bonifacio!” he wrote.
Senator Grace Poe called on the Filipino people to honor Bonifacio through love and compassion.