MANILA, Philippines – Government officials stressed the importance of loving the country on National Heroes Day, inviting Filipinos to be the heroes they want to see in society.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in a short statement on Monday, August 26, urged Filipinos to "be everyday heroes" who reach out to those in need and uplift society as a whole.
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo said our progress and freedom would only be meaningful if Filipinos stood up for their rights at a time when the country's democracy and sovereignty are under threat.
Below are messages from government officials and lawmakers to commemorate National Heroes' Day.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano
"We dedicate this day especially to the unnamed heroes who have shed blood, sweat, tears, in the defense of this nation and the values it represent. We dedicate this day to the uniformed personnel, the AFP, PNP, BJMP, Bureau of Fire, for the law enforcers like the NBI. But even to our OFWS who have made many sacrifices, to our athletes that are preparing for the South East Asian Games to represent our country, for the many sacrifices that they have made and are making."
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
"Let this day remind us all that love of country is the foundation upon which our country was built. The act of defiance against foreign domination by our forefathers despite overwhelming odds planted the seed of Filipino nationhood that evolved to become what we are now."
AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal
"While we honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country's freedom and independence, we are also reminded that the challenge continues and that we each must do our share to protect and defend our way of life."
Senator Leila de Lima
"Hindi po natin malilimutan ang mga bayani nating nagmarka sa ating kasaysayan, silang sa mga panahong nangingibabaw ang pananahimik o pagiging manhid dahil sa takot at karahasan, ay piniling tumindig at maging tinig para sa mga naaapi at naghahangad ng katarungan at kalayaan.
And to truly honor their contributions that secured us a better future, it is our obligation to protect the freedom we inherited through their blood and sacrifice."
Senator Win Gatchalian
"Today, we honor and pay tribute to the men and women whose courageous deeds made it possible for our country to attain its freedom – those whose names have been forever etched in history books, as well as to the nameless heroes throughout our history who helped build our nation into what it is today."
Senator Pia Cayetano
“May this day remind us of the importance of bridging our current generation of young Filipinos to our rich and proud past, and cultivating in them love of country and service to fellow Filipinos, the same values which our national heroes embraced and stood up for."
Senator Grace Poe
"In whatever field of endeavor, let us show excellence, perseverance and dedication for our families, for ourselves and for the nation."
Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan
“Bagama’t di natin kailangang magpunit ng cedula tulad ng mga bayani ng Pugad Lawin, pwede pa rin tayong maging bayani para sa kinabukasan at para sa ating mga anak kung aalagaan lang natin ang ating kalikasan (While we don’t need to tear up any tax certificate like the heroes of Pugad Lawin, we can still be heroes for the future and our children if only we care for our environment).”
Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda
"We need not die to be a hero. We only need to be a faithful steward of the law, and know and serve our purpose, like what our overseas Filipino workers, athletes and artists, teachers, soldiers, policemen, doctors, nurses and other professionals, volunteers, philanthropists, community leaders, farmers and fisherfolk, and mothers and fathers do."
Representative Manuel Cabochan III
"Our nation at present is seemingly being brought back to the times when our independence was being threatened by the colonizers. Our control now over our waters, and even our lands, are being challenged by foreign aggressors. Ang ating mga mangingisda at sundalo ay patuloy na tinatakot at hina-harass. Ang ating mga batas ay pinagsasawalang-bahala at binabastos. We, the present generation of Filipinos, should not let our nation be trampled on like this.
We owe it to our heroes to protect the peace and sovereignty of our nation which they have fought for.... I urge the current administration to view this day as a reminder on its obligation to assert our rights in our territory and protect our national interests."