President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday lauded the country’s countless “unsung heroes” who have led the country’s fight against the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
In his National Heroes Day message, Duterte thanked health workers, uniformed personnel, government employees, and economic front-liners for their “collective sacrifice” in readily answering the call to serve fellow Filipinos.
“This National Heroes Day, we pay tribute to a new breed of heroes who readily answered the call to fight in a war against one of the greatest threats to our way of life,” he said.
Duterte recognized them for their “indomitable spirit” in leading the battle against the health crisis despite hiding in anonymity.
“Their names will not be etched on edifice, statues will not be erected in their honor, banknotes will not be graced by their portraits, and their individual exploits will not be immortalized on the pages of history books. Yet, for selflessly risking their lives to ensure the survival of our society, I can confidently say that they have more than earned their rightful place in the pedestal of heroes,” he added.
He said today’s celebration should serve not just as a memorial to their extraordinary heroism, but as an “enduring testament” to Filipinos’ capacity to “rise above self-interest” to fight for a greater cause.
“This year, let us consecrate this day not just as a memorial to their extraordinary heroism, but as an enduring testament to our inherent capacity to rise above self-interest to fight for a cause far greater than our own,” he said.
In a taped message aired over state-run PTV-4, Duterte honored the “noble sacrifices” of the country’s ancestors who fought to establish a now thriving democracy.
He again honored “modern-day heroes” who sacrificed their lives, comfort, and security for others and urged the public to learn from the country’s past and present heroes.
“May we all learn from the valiant example of the past and present heroes and build on them to achieve a stronger future for all.
Freedom against corruption
Meanwhile, Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar also joined the Filipino nation in the celebration of National Heroes Day, urging them to pay tribute to the bravery and valor of the national heroes by reflecting on the government’s efforts to fight corruption.
“In honor of the bravery, courage, and valor that our heroic ancestors have shown against our colonizers, let us pay tribute to them by reflecting our history of fighting, upholding, and promoting freedom and democratic ideals by going against corruption, social injustices, and all of the other ills faced by our great nation,” Andanar said in a statement.
He also called on Filipinos to recognize the modern day heroes, particularly the front-liners in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As we remain under the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, let’s remember the great sacrifice of our modern day heroes, our frontliners and economic workers who risk their lives for our safety, protection, and recovery from this global health crisis,” he said.
He said the sacrifices of the medical front-liners and security personnel who impose the health and safety protocols amid threat of the virus will not be wasted as he pushed the national Covid-19 vaccination program.
“May all of us be inspired by the sacrifices of our national heroes and our modern day heroes into having a purpose, serving others, and bringing positive changes to ourselves and all FiIipinos for our collective progress as a nation,” Andanar said. “We wish everyone a meaningful National Heroes Day celebration.”
Duterte declared National Heroes Day a regular holiday under Proclamation 1107.
Republic Act 9492 declared the last Monday of August of every year as an official national holiday that honors the country’s unknown heroes of the revolution who laid the foundation for the country’s independence after centuries under foreign rule including Spain, the United States, and Japan.
It commemorates the Cry of Pugad Lawin, a revolt that started the 1896 Philippine Revolution against the Spanish regime along with the long struggle of Filipinos for the country’s independence.
National Heroes Day was initially celebrated on the 30th of November — the same day as the remembrance of the birth of revolutionary Gat Andres Bonifacio. (PNA)