MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will again skip the commemoration of the death anniversary of hero Jose Rizal as he would rather pay tribute to other Filipino heroes, Malacañang said Friday.
Duterte would rather pay tribute to other Filipino heroes who do not have special days dedicated to them, such as the young general Gregorio del Pilar, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
"He will not be attending the Rizal rites. He will rather go to some place," Panelo said.
"Parang ngayon naman si Del Pilar ang gusto niyang bigyan ng tribute," Panelo said.
(He wants to pay tribute to Gregorio del Pilar this year.)
Last year, the President was represented by his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, during the Rizal Day rites in his hometown.
Vice President Leni Robredo, meanwhile, graced the wreath-laying ceremony in Luneta.
Panelo clarified that the President, in skipping the commemoration rites, does not mean to disrespect Rizal's memory and simply wants to honor other heroes too.
It is Rizal's 123rd death anniversary on Monday.
"Siguro, hindi naho-honor ang iba, parang nakakalimutan na natin na hindi lang naman si Jose Rizal," Panelo said.
(We seem to be forgetting that Jose Rizal isn't the only hero.)
The President, as usual, would issue a statement in honor of Rizal on Dec. 30, Panelo added.
Duterte skipped National Heroes' Day rites in August, a day that celebrates the country's many heroes, and instead issued a statement.