Duterte leads Rizal Day celebration

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 30 2021 09:04 AM | Updated as of Dec 30 2021 10:45 AM

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday led rites commemorating the 125th death anniversary of national hero Jose Rizal. 

Duterte joined a flag-raising ceremony and offered flowers at the Rizal Monument in Manila. 

Rizal's novels “Noli me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” “were viewed as the guiding force for other patriots to rally for the country’s cause,” in the 1896 revolution against Spanish colonial rule, according to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines website. 

"As we commemorate Rizal's contribution to our freedom and self-determination, may we continue to honor him by exemplifying patriotism and idealism in all our endeavors as well as by fostering a greater sense of nationalism among the Filipino youth," Duterte later said in a message. 

He said true heroes "give their lives for love of country and of our people." 

"This heroism has become more manifest when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the whole world. People of unmatched boldness and compassion stood and fought against the odds brought by the disease in order to help save lives, even while risking their own," said the President. 

"Today, as we celebrate the life and works of Dr. Jose Rizal, let us also honor our modern-day heroes who are at the frontlines. Let us emulate his wisdom and courage in our own simple ways as we pursue a better and brighter future for all," he continued. 

Rizal was executed on Dec. 30, 1896 by a firing squad on Bagumbayan Field (now Rizal Park) on orders of Spanish authorities. He was convicted of rebellion, sedition, and for allegedly forming an illegal association.

General Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 declared December 30 as a day of national mourning. In 1902, the Philippine Commission enacted a law declaring the date Rizal Day and made it an official holiday