MANILA, Philippines – National Heroes Day is for the unnamed heroes who strive daily for the sake of their loved ones and their country, said President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, August 27.
"Let us honor ordinary Filipinos who, despite the challenges that come their way, continue to work for their well-being and their families, the betterment of their communities, and the advancement of our nation," he said in a speech during the National Heroes Day rites at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
This spoken sentiment is reflected in Duterte's message for the holiday, sent to reporters on Monday.
"We also recognize the thousands of ordinary citizens – our everyday heroes, who continue to make sacrifices for the welfare of their families and the advancement of our communities," reads his message.
President Duterte's National Heroes' Day message mentions everyday heroes and the struggle for unity amid ills that plague society. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/XHpNRjGdZ2 — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) August 27, 2018
In front of World War II veterans and government officials, Duterte recalled the heroism of soldiers who fought for Marawi City's liberation from extremists as well as law enforcers fighting communist rebels.
"We honor our brave troops who gallantly sacrified their lives to defeat communist insurgents, Islamic separatists, and other threats to our sovereignty, especially those who took part in the successful liberation of Marawi," said the President.
"We honor dedicated police officers who, through the intensified campaign against illegal drugs, have made our neighborhoods, communities, and businesses safer and more conducive to growth and development," said Duterte.
He also gave his salute to overseas Filipino workers and teachers for their daily sacrifices.
Duterte, who usually commits only to events that take place after lunch, was an early riser on Monday for the National Heroes Day ceremony.
He witnessed the raising of the Philippine flag and saluted to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Other top officials present were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Carlito Galvez Jr, and National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairman Rene Escalante. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.