Duterte calls on Filipinos to emulate Rizal’s patriotism
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to emulate and reflect on the patriotism of Dr Jose Rizal as the nation observed the national hero's 121st death anniversary on Saturday, December 30.
“May we take this occasion as an opportunity to recognize Rizal’s ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our country. Let us reflect on his patriotism as we strive to continue his work of building a more united, peaceful and prosperous Philippines,” the President said in his Rizal Day message.
Duterte cited the examples set by the national hero, and appealed to Filipinos to follow Rizal's lead.
“As an author and as a scholar, he denounced the corruption, greed and other social ills that up to this day continue to plague our society. Even in death, he imparted upon us his aspirations for a nation that is free from the scourge of injustice, tyranny and suffering,” Duterte said.
Duterte led the Rizal Day commemoration at the Rizal Park in Luneta. Vice President Leni Robredo stood beside the President during the flag-raising ceremony, along with former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Robredo was not at the Luneta event last year. Earlier in December 2016, the Vice President was forced to resign from her post as Duterte's housing chief after she was barred from attending Cabinet meetings.
In separate messages, senators urged the people to follow the teachings and principles espoused by Rizal.
“Let us further take this opportunity not only to pay tribute to Rizal’s heroic and selfless deeds, but also to strive to emulate his sense of duty and burning passion to bring progressive and nationalistic reforms for the love of our Motherland,” said Senator Joel Villanueva."
“May we all take time to contemplate his teachings and principles, and ask ourselves what we can do to contribute in nation-building,” Villanueva added.
SenatorJuan Edgardo Angara called on Filipinos to use Rizal’s inspiration to fight the biggest social ills the Philippines is facing today.
“Today, we are in the middle of another battle – the war against poverty – and all of us are called upon to act and respond. Will we respond with all courage and willingness too? I am optimistic that we will,” Angara said.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, for his part, remembered Rizal as "a farmer who soiled his hands and feet to learn the basics of agriculture, studying how to make the land he bought near Dapitan productive."
Rizal lived in exile in Dapitan from 1892 to 1896. (READ: Rizal's student in Dapitan recalls service, duty, sense of dedication)
"Ka Pepe left the haunting message that genuine independence cannot exist when Filipino farmers are still disrespected and poor. We need to measure development by how abundant their own dining tables are," he said. – Rappler.com