MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos on Friday to mirror the courage of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. as the country marks the martyred senator's death anniversary while battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Duterte called on the nation to be "heroes" by showing discipline while the world faces a public health crisis.
"As this important occasion is remembered during this time that we are facing a global public health crisis, may we emulate Ninoy's courage and patriotism so we may all be heroes through acts of discipline, goodwill and social responsibility," he said in his message for Ninoy Aquino Day.
"I call on everyone to cooperate and work with the government so that we may keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe," he added.
Duterte, who succeeded the late Aquino's son former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, also appealed to Filipinos to share their resources with the less fortunate.
"May we also generously share our resources to those who have less in life during these trying times," he said.
A staunch critic of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' martial law regime, Aquino was assassinated upon return from exile on Aug. 21, 1983 at the Manila International Airport, which was later renamed in his honor.
His death is commemorated yearly in the country as Ninoy Aquino Day and is declared a special non-working holiday.
Months ago, Duterte's lawmaker son Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte along with ACT-CIS Party-List Rep. Eric Go Yap, and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco have proposed to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport into Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas, saying this would help make the Manila airport easily identifiable as the Philippines' main terminal.