MANILA - Senators called on the public to emulate the nationalism of war heroes and veterans, whose courage the country is commemorating on Monday, Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor).
While our forefathers fought foreign invaders, Filipinos are now up against inequality and corruption, said Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.
"We must continue to be valiant in defending our country from all forms of threats; not just from foreign invasions, but also from threats found within our own nation," he said in a statement.
"This is a time when the country needs all its citizens, not to fight in trenches, but to make the Philippines better for Filipinos," he added.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, said that while heroes remain as "icons of courage," Filipinos who "fight against oppression and right the wrong" are valiant.
"The killing of drug suspects is wrong, the imprisonment of Sen. Leila de Lima is wrong, misogyny is wrong, giving away Philippine islands is wrong, having zero NFA rice stocks is wrong, and many more," said the president of the opposition Liberal Party (LP).
"Let us draw strength and courage from our ancestors who dedicated their lives to the country, for the freedom we enjoy today," he added.
De Lima, who is in prison while on trial for drug-dealing, said "Nasusukat ang kagitingan hindi lamang sa tapang, at lalong-lalo na, hindi sa yabang."
"Maipapamalas ito sa paninindigan at pakikipaglaban para sa tama at makatwiran, at sa pagmamalasakit sa kapwa at bansa."
(Valor is measured not just by courage, and most especially, not by arrogance. It is displayed by standing up and fighting for what is right and rational, and sympathizing with others and the country.)
The Day of Valor commemorates the fall of Bataan to Japanese imperial forces 76 years ago during World War II.