President Duterte is Presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s modern-day Lapulapu, who resisted against imperial Spanish colonization, as he also revealed plans by the government to make April 27 Lapulapu Day.
April 27 this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan in which Datu Lapulapu vanquished the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in hand to hand combat.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (is) my modern day Lapulapu lalong-lalo na po sa kanya polisiya na independent foreign policy dahil ibig sabihin po niyan kaibigan natin ang lahat. Wala tayong kaaway, wala po siyang sinasantong mga dayuhan (especially in his policy of independent foreign policy because it means that we are a friend to all. We do not have enemies, we do not fear foreigners),” Roque, who is currently in Cebu, said on Tuesday.
Although Duterte has been critical of Western nations and organizations, particularly the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations, he appears to have taken a passive stance against China’s incursion into the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea.
He also failed in his campaign promise to ride a jet ski to the disputed islands and put the Philippine flag there regardless of what Beijing does next.
Roque said that there should be a Lapulapu national day to be commemorated in the entire country. Right now, Lapulapu Day is only celebrated in Cebu, but is a special working holiday across the Philippines.
The Palace official compared Lapu-Lapu’s struggles to fight against Spain and Portuguese with the coronavirus pandemic. Like Lapu-Lapu, he said Filipinos can emerge victorious against the COVID-19 pandemic “kung tayo po’y nagsasama-sama (if we are united).”
He revealed that Duterte also wants to change the name of a fish named Lapu-Lapu (a kind of grouper fish with white meat and firm texture), hinting that it demeaning for the country’s first Filipino hero to share a name with a fish.
On April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu, who was the datu of Cebu then, defeated Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who arrived on the island of Cebu to look for spices, discover lands, expand Spanish territory, and spread Christianity.