President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday called on the Filipinos to collectively work for a “truly independent Philippines” as the country marked its 121st Independence Day.
President Duterte honored the sacrifices of the nation’s forefathers who “bound their fates, their lives, and their fortunes to proclaim the independence of the Filipino people” over a century ago.
“It was the most significant event in our country’s history. Not only did we put an end to more than three centuries of subservience, but we also resolved to determine the course of our own destiny as a nation, Duterte said.
In other developments:
As in the previous years, Duterte decided to skip the Independence Day ceremonies at the Luneta and instead led the Independence Day rites in Malabang, Lanao Del Sur.
• The fight against poverty is not at the forefront in the country’s fight for freedom, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Wednesday.
Arroyo, who was the Guest of Honor at the Barasoain Church in Malolos City, Bulacan, said the fight for freedom continues but it is now about fighting to bring all Filipinos out of poverty.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the biggest war we are waging is to free the nation and its families from the bondage of illegal drugs.
Liberal Party president Francis Pangilinan said Filipinos continue to be faced with external and internal challenges that erode our people’s hopes and threaten their freedom.
“For how can we be independent when our people are hungry for food, jobs, and justice? he said.
Detained Senator Leila de Lima asked the Filipino people to voice out their collective disgust against the threats to the country freedom, such as the influx of illegal Chinese workers and the unabated extrajudicial and summary killings in the country.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said celebrating our freedom means not taking it for granted. She said the civil liberties we enjoy today are hard-fought victories.
Senator Loren Legarda said freedom also calls for promoting inclusive growth by translating our growth statistics into more job opportunities, stable employment, equitable access to quality education, health services, and other social services, and safe and disaster-resilient communities for Filipinos.
Duterte urged the Filipinos to continue nourishing the “tree of liberty,” and asked them to uphold the country’s hard-won freedom.
“Let us commit ourselves to ensure that their sacrifices have not been in vain and that their dream of a truly independent Philippines―whose people live freely in a secure, stable and prosperous society― will be achieved within our lifetimes,” he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said every Filipino should actively protect the independence the country’s heroes died defending for.
“In the spirit of nationalism, I call on every Filipino to safeguard the freedom that our ancestors fought for; the very freedom we have sworn to protect,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
“We will show the world what true Filipinos are: A disciplined, patriotic race, with an ever-burning sense of duty, ready to defend our nation against threats and foes. We may be a nation of scattered islands, but together, we stand as one.”
He also paid tribute to the country’s armed forces and civilian volunteers “who relentlessly guard our seas, lands, and air to tirelessly keep the communities safe.”
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the celebration of Independence Day does not only revolve around the country’s liberation from foreign manipulation.
For them, the communist terrorist group still pose a threat against the country’s independence, calling on Filipinos to back the government’s fight to eradicate the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front.
“Let us rally behind our government to end the local communist armed conflict to eradicate the flaw of a foreign ideology that has inflicted division in our Motherland for decades,” Lorenzana said.
Año, on the other hand, urged them, especially the youth, not to be “enslaved and blinded” by the “harmful ideologies” of communists. With Vito Barcelo, Maricel V. Cruz, Macon Ramos-Araneta, Orlan Mauricio, and Jun David
READ: Remembering significance of PH Independence Day