MANILA - As the country marks its 121st Independence Day, President Rodrigo Duterte called on Filipinos to aspire for a truly independent Philippines.
"A hundred and twenty-one years has passed since our forefathers bound their fates, their lives and their fortunes to proclaim the independence of the Filipino people," he said in a statement released early Wednesday.
"It was the most significant event in our country's history. Not only did we put an end to more than three centuries of subservience but we also resolved to determine the course of our own destiny as a nation."
Duterte also reminds Filipinos the sacrifices made to ensure the country's freedom.
"But the freedom we achieved back then was not without cost. The tree of liberty blossomed on these lands because it was nourished by the sweat and blood of our patriots, heroes and martyrs," he said.
"Let us commit ourselves to ensure that their sacrifices have not been in vain and that their dream of a truly independent Philippines - whose people live freely in a secure, stable and prosperous society - will be achieved within our lifetimes."