MANILA— Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday called on Filipinos to unite and draw strength from one another in the face of the pandemic, hardships, abuses and other challenges as the nation marked Independence Day.
In a message shared on her Facebook page, Robredo reminded Filipinos on how history has shown that they could prevail if united, no matter how the foes of freedom wanted them to believe they were weak.
"Tayo ang lakas ng ating kapwa. Anuman ang tawag ng panahon, mukha mang imposible ang sitwasyon, kakayanin natin, magtatagumpay tayo, dahil iisang bayan tayo— humihirang sa iisang lupain, duyan ng magiting, hinding-hindi pasisiil," she said, making reference to lines from the national anthem.
(We are each other's strength. Whatever is the call of the times, impossible the situation may look, we can do it because we are one nation, one people of our chosen land, the cradle of the brave, a people who will never be conquered.)
She recalled how the Filipino's journey to independence was "full of challenges and sacrifice."
"Sa harap ng makapangyarihan, parang naging imposible ang pumalag. Noon hanggang ngayon, ito mismo ang gustong ipapaniwala sa atin ng mga kalaban ang kalayaan: Na mahina tayo. Na watak-watak tayo. Na nag-iisa tayo, at mas dapat nating pagtuonan ang indibiduwal na interes kaysa sa kolektibo," Robredo said.
(In the face of the powerful, it seemed impossible to fight back. Then and now, this is what the enemies of freedom want us to believe: that we are weak. That we are divided. That we are alone and that we should focus on our individual interests rather than the collective.)
"Pero ipinakita natin noon sa mga Kastila, at sa lahat ng sumubok maniil sa ating bayan: Mukha mang tagilid ang laban, basta humuhugot tayo ng lakas sa isa’t isa, kaya nating magtagumpay," she added, referring to colonizers who occupied the Philippines.
(But we showed then to the Spaniards and others who wanted to conquer our nation: the battle may seem to be against our favor, but for as long as we draw strength from each other, we can win.)
She said Filipinos should carry this spirit in the face of current challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, the destruction fo the planet, poverty and hunger, and abuse.
"Paalala ang Araw ng Kalayaan: Walang Pilipinong nag-iisa," she said.
(A reminder on Independence Day: No Filipino is alone.)
The Philippines is marking its second Independence Day in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dragged the economy to record lows, brought businesses to their knees, left millions jobless, and tested the country's health care system.
It has logged over 1.3 million cases, among them more than 22,000 deaths, while vaccinations against the virus remained under target due to low vaccine supply.