Duterte marks 500 years since Magellan's landing, urges Pinoys to learn from history

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2021 05:22 PM

Duterte marks 500 years since Magellan's landing, urges Pinoys to learn from history 1
President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a meeting at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on March 15, 2021. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday urged Filipinos to learn from history and "never again allow any other tribe to compromise our sovereignty," as he marked the 500th anniversary of the landing of the Spanish expedition in the Philippines. 

Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew landed in the Philippines on March 16, 1521, in the first circumnavigation of the world. He died on the shores of Mactan, Cebu, in a battle with chieftain Lapu-Lapu, which Duterte called "an exemplary display of firm leadership and extraordinary courage defeated and drove away the colonials." 

Duterte said "history should make us reflect on the past and look beyond our future." 

"I therefore call on our kababayans to appreciate our rich history and learn from the experience of those that came before us so that we may never again allow any other tribe to compromise our sovereignty," the President said. 

Duterte led the unveiling of a marker in Guiuan, Samar for the 500th anniversary of Magellan's global voyage. Some historical accounts say he first landed in Homonhon, an island in Guiuan. 

"We thank everybody, the ancestors of the Spaniards who came here. And we hope that this event goes further—fortify our relations with the Spaniards," Duterte said.

After Magellan's death, further Spanish expeditions ended in disaster before Miguel López de Legazpi established the first permanent Spanish settlement in Cebu in 1565. 

Colonizers eventually converted most of the country to Roman Catholicism, except for the Moros of Mindanao. 

Duterte, the first President from Mindanao, rejected in 2019 a celebration for Magellan’s arrival, which he said heralded 300 years of Spanish rule and abuse against Filipinos.

"You know they came to our country as imperialist. Hindi man tayo Español (we are not Spanish) and they subjugated us for 300 years,” Duterte had said during a housing-related event in Cebu.     

About 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholics. Over the weekend, Pope Francis led a mass celebrating 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.