MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday paid tribute to the country’s “everyday heroes” as the nation marked National Heroes Day.
In his message to mark the day, which commemorates the start of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish rule in 1896, Duterte said he recognizes "the thousands of ordinary citizens - our everyday heroes, who continue to make sacrifices for the welfare of their families and the advancement of our communities.”
“At a time when our unity as a people is constantly being tested, we take inspiration from their triumphs and struggles as we rise above the ills that plague our society and champion the empowerment of the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed,” he added.
The President urged Filipinos to continue to emulate the valor and selfless ways of the country’s heroes “as we effect lasting change across the nation and create a legacy upon which future generations can build.”
In his speech at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Duterte also honored “our unnamed heroes who, in their own little ways, have made a huge difference in the lives of those they have touched.”
During the rites, Duterte led a flag-raising ceremony and offered a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
He paid tribute to brave troops who defended Marawi City from Islamist militants during the 5-month siege last year and those who protect the Philippines from communist insurgents, as well as volunteers who dedicate their lives to rebuild Marawi.
He also honored police officers who, “through an intensified campaign against criminality and illegal drugs, have made our streets, neighborhoods, communities and [businesses] safer and more conducive for growth and development.”
The President also acknowledged contributions of educators and overseas Filipino workers to society.
“It is my sincere hope that as we come together to honor our heroes and celebrate their extraordinary feats and love of country, [we may be] further inspired to embody the ideals and values that they stood up for,” he said.
“Let us all become worthy heirs to their legacy so that we may leave behind to the succeeding generations of Filipinos a nation that they will also proudly give up their lives for.”