MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on National Heroes' Day urged Filipinos to be "everyday heroes" who champion those who have been "neglected by society."
The collective sacrifice of the country's heroes "made it possible for us to enjoy the blessings of liberty and to continue strengthening this great nation that they have left behind," Duterte said in a statement.
"We recognize their heroism not only by erecting statues in their honor, but by uplifting the welfare of the poor and marginalized for it is through our small deeds that their spirit of valor can live on," said the President.
"Let us make our forebears proud of our triumphs as a people by being everyday heroes who will reach out to those who are in need, especially to the ones who have been neglected by society," he added.
Duterte also said every Filipino "is a hero who can build on our vibrant legacy of fortitude and resilience."
"As we face the future together, I encourage everyone to embody solidarity and sustain our momentum towards positive change not only for ourselves, but for the succeeding generations as well," he said.
The Chief Executive was "indisposed" and skipped the commemoration of National Heroes Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, said his former longtime aide, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go.
Duterte tapped House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano as his proxy in leading the National Heroes' Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Marikina, said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
National Heroes Day, which is celebrated yearly on the last Monday of August, is a regular holiday.