Senators on Independence Day: ‘History is not, and should never be, forgotten’

Senators on Sunday, June 12 urged Filipinos to commemorate the 124th year of Philippine’s independence remembering the sacrifices that the country’s heroes gave and toiled for liberty and for the nation’s right to carve its own path and identity.

Senators gather in the Senate plenary in the opening of the 18th Congress' 2nd regular session on July 27, 2020. (Senate PRIB)

Thus, it is important, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said, that Filipinos do not forget the lessons of the past: “We have this day because we refuse to forget the weight of history that brought us here. It is every Filipino’s responsibility to remember the legacy of our heroes and the impact of our past. Through remembrance, we shape the future generation’s understanding of history,” Hontiveros said in her Philippine Independence Day statement.

“Every year, June 12 confirms it: history is not, and should never be, forgotten,” the opposition senator said.

“Preserving this hard-fought legacy of freedom now rests on our shoulders. Just as our fundamental freedoms embraced us and our collective dream of a better nation, it is also our responsibility to meet the challenges of the time. Let us not take our freedom for granted,” Hontiveros stressed.

Hontiveros also stressed the importance of how, as a people, Filipinos have always found a middle ground—a consensus—”a collaboration in good faith that brings us back to the true spirit of nation-building under a democracy.”

The opposition lawmaker said she hopes to see this in the next administration under the helm of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

“As we embark on a new administraiton, such is the task before us, once again: to the plough and build the Philippines, we the Filipinoi people, deserve—a country full of promise and possibility, a country proud of her rich heritage and history, a country deeply loved by her people,” Hontiveros stressed.

For her part, fellow opposition Senator Leila de Lima called on Filipinos to pay homage to political prisoners like her in the commemoration of Independence Day.

De Lima also urged fellow Filipinos who are advocates of human rights, not to give up the fight for freedom, justice and human rights.

Sen. Richard Gordon echoed Hontiveros’ call as he urges Filipinos to remain free “from the chains of oppression, of illegal foreign incursion, poverty and disinformation.”

“As we sojourn to a crossroads in history, let us never forget the sacrifices our forefathers have made for the future generations to experience true freedom,” Gordon said.

Gordon also expressed hope that the Philippines is already on track towards freedom from the pandemic as well.

“Maintain our freedom by providing clcean, honest and effective governance, equal opportunity and better education for our people,” he stressed.

Senator-elect and Sorsogon Governor Francis Escudero also said it is crucial for Filipinos to unite, love and serve the country during these times especially since it has yet to overcome the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Escudero also said the country’s economy has yet to recover from the impact of the pandemic. “Mapagtatagumpayan lamang natin ang mga hamong ito kung tayo ay magkakaisa bilang isang bayan (We can only emerge victorious from these challenges if we are going to unite as one nation),” he said in his Independence Day message.

Aside from the Covid-19, Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid, likewise, stressed the importance of continuing the fight against corruption and poverty.

“Pasasaan pa at lalaya rin tayo sa mga problemang matagal nang kinakaharap ng ating bayan (I am confident that we will soon be free from the problems that our nation has been battling for many years),” Lapid stressed.