Duterte urges Filipinos to uphold PH sovereignty and protect rights, freedom

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte called on Filipinos to continue to uphold the country’s sovereignty and protect the nation's hard-won rights and freedoms.


The President issued the call Tuesday as the nation commemorated the Araw ng Kagitingan. Hen said the public could draw inspiration from the country's brave forefathers who defended the country's liberty and democracy years ago.

“As we hold this solemn observance, it is my hope that we will all be inspired to remain steadfast like our forefathers and their allies in upholding our sovereignty and in protecting the rights and freedoms that our people enjoy today,” the President said in his message.

The President skipped the 77th Araw ng Kagitingan rites at the Mt. Samat National Shrine in Bataan and instead decided to commemorate the historic event in Sulu. He is scheduled to visit Camp Bautista in Jolo, Sulu for the Day of Valor commemoration Tuesday afternoon.

The national holiday aims to honor the valor of Filipino troops who worked alongside American soldiers to combat the Japanese invaders during World War II.

In the same message, the President paid tribute to the heroism of the Filipino and American troops as well as the many civilians who fought for the country's freedom against invading forces.

“I join our veterans, allies and the rest of the Filipino people in commemorating Araw ng Kagitingan,” he said.
“Today, we remember the heroism of the brave Filipino and American soldiers who stood side by side in the mountains and jungles of Bataan in defense of our liberty and democracy,” he added.

He also remembered the countless civilians who helped the forces in the “valiant defense against the overwhelming force of the enemy.”

“We may not be able to memorialize all of them, but we will forever remember and honour their epic struggle and unshakeable fortitude,” he added.

Live up to forefathers’ courage

Vice President Leni Robredo, meanwhile, called on Filipinos to live up to the courage and bravery of their forefathers who fought for the country’s freedom.

In her message, Robredo said the public should draw inspiration from the heroes of Bataan who had made sacrifices for Philippine independence and they continue the fight.

“They are the reason for the freedom we enjoy now and it is only appropriate that once a year, we honor them,” she said in Filipino.

“May their sacrifices serve as inspiration for everyone to be brave like them in fighting all the corruption and evil that bring fear to our country,” she added.

‘Liberate us from clerical work’

Meanwhile, a group of teachers urged the leadership of the Department of Education (DepEd) to “liberate” them from too much clerical tasks by junking the results-based performance management system (RPMS).

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), in a statement, called on the DepEd to stop the implementation of the RPMS and “revert to the simplified performance appraisal system” for teachers (PAST) which has been in used for several decades until the introduction of RPMS in 2012.

“We are supposed to be in our families or taking a vacation right now after the daily teaching routine for 10 months, yet most of our colleagues are still required to report to their schools and accomplish this RPMS,” said TDC Secretary-General Emmalyn Policarpio. “We are teachers and we are expected to teach our pupils and students, a duty that we diligently performed in our classrooms for the whole year, thus we deserve a break,” she added. (With reports from Raymund Antonio and Merlina Malipot)