Duterte urges Filipinos on Independence Day: 'Be courageous, serve your communities'

Published June 11, 2022, 3:38 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

As he approached the end of his term, President Duterte hoped that commemorating the country’s independence would inspire Filipinos to be courageous and use their abilities for the benefit their communities.

File photo of President Duterte during the 123rd Independence Day rites in Malolos, Bulacan on June 12, 2021. (Malacañang photo)

Duterte said this as the country commemorates its 124th Independence Day on June 12. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Kalayaan 2022: Pag-suong sa Hamon Ng Panibagong Bukas (Rise Towards The Challenge Of A New Beginning).”

In a taped message, the President said the occasion is a reminder of how the country’s heroes fought for freedom and hoped Filipinos would take inspiration from their courage.

“This occasion is a testament to how our forefathers fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today,” he said.

“May it inspire us to take after the courage of our heroes as well as encourage us to use our ability, skills, and knowledge for the benefit of our community,” he added.

Duterte likewise hoped that Filipinos would never forget the country’s rich history.

“Take (to) heart all the learnings from the past, especially the countless hardships that we had to endure as a people,” he said.

“Let our rich histories move to translate our love for this country into real acts of goodwill for all our fellow men,” he added.

Meanwhile, he enjoined Filipinos to work together “so that we could realize our vision of a more harmonious and progressive Philippines.”

President Duterte is set to attend this year’s Independence Day rites at the Rizal Park in Manila on June 12. This will be the first time over the past six years that he will attend the celebration in Luneta, the place where the country’s national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was executed.

President Duterte skipped his first Independence Day celebration at the Rizal Park in 2017 because he was not feeling well. He also skipped the celebration in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Over the past six years, the President has attended only two Independence Day celebrations — the first was in Kawit, Cavite, in 2018, where he was heckled, and the second was in Malolos, Bulacan, in 2021.

For the Independence Day celebration in 2019, the President chose to commemorate the event in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, because it was where the Japanese executed Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos for refusing to cooperate with them during the invasion of the Philippines.