Video courtesy of PTV
MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said health and essential frontliners during the COVID-19 pandemic are "worthy heirs of Lapu-Lapu’s legacy," as the Philippines marked 500 years since the datu’s defeat of Spanish colonial threat.
Lapu-Lapu and warriors of Mactan island on April 27, 1521 defeated western firepower and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who began the supposed first trip around the globe.
Mactan's warriors "never cowered against the might of the enemy and they bled in defense of their homeland," said Duterte.
"Today, we remember their gallantry by honoring the worthy heirs of Lapu-Lapu’s legacy: our medical and essential frontliners, who in face of danger caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to risk their lives, their own lives to ensure for the safety of their fellow Filipinos," the President said in a pre-recorded speech.
"Let us draw inspiration from the heroes of the past and present as we overcome pandemic and rebuild a stronger and more resilient nation," he added.
The Philippines' total tally of COVID-19 cases breached the 1 million mark on Monday. Active infections have strained hospitals and health workers.
The government tightened quarantine measures in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces starting late March to stem a surge in infections blamed on more contagious COVID-19 variants.