Duterte on Day of Valor: Let's uphold sovereignty, protect rights, freedoms
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, on Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), called on Filipinos to uphold the country's sovereignty and protect democratic rights and freedoms.
He made this call to action on Tuesday, April 9, or Bataan Day, in his Day of Valor message sent to media.
"As we hold this solemn observance, it is my hope that we will all be inspired to remain steadfast like our forefathers and their allies in upholding our sovereignty and in protecting the rights and freedoms that our people enjoy today," said Duterte.
Yet the President himself has been accused of violating the very principles he wants Filipinos to stand up for.
Critics say his soft approach to China has emboldened the Asian power to continue encroaching on Philippine sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte has admitted having a "dictator-like" style of leadership, a claim further bolstered by his crackdown on dissenting voices and his recent threat to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and declare a "revolutionary war" against critics.
Without mentioning any of these threats, the President recalled the sacrifice made by the country's heroes to defend Philippine sovereignty and democracy.
"Today, we remember the heroism of the brave Filipino and American soldiers who stood side by side in the mountains and jungles of Bataan in defense of our liberty and democracy," said Duterte.
The Day of Valor commemorates the historic Battle of Bataan in which joint forces of Filipino and American soldiers fought Japanese forces for 3 months. Their desperate last stand delayed the advance of Japanese troops, giving more time for Filipino and American forces to prepare for future battles.
The survivors of the battle were forced by the Japanese to walk all the way to San Fernando, Pampanga, in what is now known as the Bataan Death March. – Rappler.com