MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday urged Filipinos to emulate the courage of the father of the Philippine Revolution Andres Bonifacio, as the country wrestled with the coronavirus pandemic and a series of destructive storms.
Bonifacio sparked "the fires of the revolution that awakened our national consciousness and served as the foundation of this republic" during Spanish colonial rule, said Duterte, on the 157th birth anniversary of the hero.
"Now more than ever, as we overcome the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic, as we remember his life and deeds, may the values he fought for inspire us all to become martyrs of the just, progressive, and inclusive society that he envisioned more than a century ago," he said in a taped message.
"Fueled by extraordinary courage and determination, let us surmount the many challenges ahead and secure a much better and brighter future for every Filipino," he added.
Robredo said Bonifacio—a one-time warehouse worker and messenger, the Supremo of the Katipunan and the Father of the Philippine Revolution—is most known for being courageous.
Bonifacio's courage is rooted in his love for fellow Filipinos, the insistence that no one should be abused or neglected, and the belief that everyone has a right to dream and a capacity to forge a better life in a freer and more humane country, she said.
"Hindi pakitang-tao ang tapang na ito. Ito ang tapang na hindi basta-basta tumitiklop dahil mahirap ang landas na hinaharap," the Vice President said in a statement.
(This courage is not for show. This courage doesn't easily fold because of the difficulty of the path ahead.)
"What Bonifacio exemplifies is not the cosmetic courage of bluster, or power, or brute strength; it is the courage of compassion," she said.
Filipinos can emulate Bonifacio by helping calamity survivors, following guidelines to halt the spread of COVID-19, and opposing any negligence or abuse.
Born in Tondo as the eldest in a brood of five, Bonifacio was orphaned at the age of 14 and from then on became his family's breadwinner. He was self-taught, read classic French novels, and penned manifestos and nationalist poetry.
Bonifacio formed and led the Katipunan, a secret society whose aim was to overthrow three centuries of Spanish rule.
The Supremo and his troops launched an armed revolution against Spain by tearing up their resident certificates or cedulas in what came to be known as “The Cry of Pugadlawin.”
Bonifacio's birth anniversary is a regular holiday.