Duterte honors 'heroes at the frontlines' on Rizal day

President Duterte hailed the "modern-day heroes at the frontlines" during the commemoration of Rizal Day Thursday, Dec. 30.

The Philippine flag at Rizal Park is hoisted during the commemoration of Rizal Day on Dec. 30, 2021 (Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

In his message during the annual occasion that commemorates the heroism of the great Dr. Jose Rizal, Duterte asked Filipinoa to continue to honor Rizal "by exemplifying patriotism and idealism in all our endeavors as well as by fostering a greater sense of nationalism among the Filipino youth".

"Indeed, true heroes give their lives for love of country and of our people. This heroism has become more manifest when the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic swept the whole world," he said.

"As we celebrate the life and works of Dr. Jose Rizal, let us also honor our modern-day heroes who are at the frontlines. Let us emulate his wisdom and courage in our own simple ways as we pursue a better and brighter future for all," the Chief Executive said.

President Rodrigo Duterte (right) is met by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno at Rizal Park during the commemoration of Rizal Day on Dec. 30, 2021 (Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte described the COVID-19 frontliners as "people of unmatched boldness and compassion stood" who "fought against the odds brought by the disease in order to help save lives, even while risking their own".

To commemorate Rizal Day, Duterte personally went to Rizal Monument in Rizal Park in Manila for the first time as president. This was his final opportunity to do so as the 76-year-old leader will step down from Malacañang after six months.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar also asked Filipinos to look toward Rizal's example in the continuing battle against COVID-19.

"As a beacon of hope, unity, patriotism, valor, and service to the country, may Dr. Jose Rizal’s legacy be a source of inspiration and determination for us to collectively respond and address the many social ills, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic that our country is currently facing and enduring," he said.


"Let us continue to be inspired by and to embody the values and principles that defined Gat Jose Rizal - his love for our country, his compassion for others, and his intellectual prowess - as we collectively heal, recover, and rise as one nation from all these difficulties and challenges," Andanar added.

December 30 marks the anniversary of Rizal's 1896 execution at Bagumbayan, or present-day Rizal Park.