MANILA-- Malacañang on Friday hailed Filipinos leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as modern-day heroes as the Philippines marked the 159th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal.
Filipinos, particularly the youth, should emulate Rizal, to be "agents of genuine transformation for a better Philippines," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
"This occasion reminds us of Dr. Rizal's young life, dedicated to service, which rings a bell in these challenging times," Roque said in a statement.
"We are proud to see today modern-day heroes -- our courageous frontliners -- who rise up to the challenge and serve as beacons of hope to a people weary and fearful of the present global health scare," he added.
Born in 1861, Rizal is widely regarded as the Philippines' national hero. His novels "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo" sparked the Filipino revolution against Spanish colonizers.
The birth anniversary of Rizal is also a special non-working holiday in his birthplace Laguna.