MANILA - Sen. Imee Marcos on Monday noted that the Philippines has yet to officially proclaim its national heroes since gaining independence, as she called on the government to finally act on the matter.
Marcos, a neophyte senator, noted that the Philippine National Heroes Committee in 1995 officially recommended the designation of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang as heroes.
However, “the issue deteriorated into a debate involving regional interests that never was resolved,” Marcos said in a statement.
“What we only have are implied heroes, despite having official dates for their commemoration,” she added.
Marcos said Bohol Congressman Rene Relampagos filed a bill in 2014 which urged the government to declare Rizal a national hero.
As of January 2017, the bill remained "Pending with the Committee on Revision of Laws,” Marcos said.
Marcos said should the debate on the national heroes resume, Macario Sakay should be included in the roster.
Sakay was the first president of the Tagalog Republic who fought against Spanish and American colonizers in the Philippines during the early part of the 20th century.
SENATORS HAIL PH HEROES
The Philippines on Monday marked National Heroes’ Day, and senators urged Filipinos to emulate them so the country would progress.
“Everyday is an opportunity to be like our brave and selfless heroes… In whatever field of endeavor, let us show excellence, perseverance and dedication for our families, for ourselves and for the nation,” Sen. Grace Poe said in a statement.
Minority Sen. Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, asked Filipinos to be heroes by caring for the environment.
“While we don’t need to tear up any tax certificate like the heroes of Pugad Lawin, we can still be heroes for the future and our children if only we care for our environment,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
Pangilinan said one step to care for the environment can be found in a bill he filed seeking the protection and preservation of the country’s mangrove forests.
“Mangroves are one of our most underrated natural resources. It provides forest products and sustains the fisheries industry. It also reduces the impact of tsunami waves, erosion, and storm surges,” he said.
Detained opposition Sen. Leila de Lima, meanwhile, called on Filipinos to be brave in resisting the “prevailing culture of fear and impunity under the current regime.”
Sen. Pia Cayetano, for her part, called on Filipinos to nurture “future heroes among the ranks of our youth.”
“May this day remind us of the importance of bridging our current generation of young Filipinos to our rich and proud past, and cultivating in them love of country and service to fellow Filipinos, the same values which our national heroes embraced and stood up for," Cayetano said in a statement.
Sen. Richard Gordon said heroes should inspire Filipinos “to carry our individual loads and help steer our country towards progress and development and genuine freedom.”