MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday drew parallels between his war on drugs and the struggles of the country's national hero, Jose Rizal, who inspired a revolution against the Spanish occupation.
Duterte issued the statement as he led the commemoration of the 120th anniversary of Rizal's martyrdom. He led a flag-raising ceremony and laid a wreath on Rizal's tomb at Luneta.
"As in his time, the country is still fighting for independence. But today, we are fighting for freedom from the bondage of poverty, crime, illegal drugs and corruption," the President said in a statement.
"Indeed, they are our present enemies; they are the modern invaders that subjugate our people's hearts, minds and spirits," he said.
Duterte called on the public to "be willing heroes" like Rizal.
"As our nation undergoes a significant phase of social development and economic growth, a period of national unity that calls for cooperation, patience and sacrifice of our people is necessary," he said.
"Let us therefore emulate the traits of Rizal; let us be willing heroes -- patriotic, faithful, and loyal to our motherland," Duterte said.