Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte honors pandemic frontliners in Araw ng Kagitingan message

Pia Ranada

FRONTLINERS. Health workers have been critical to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

File photo by Lisa Marie David/Rappler

President Duterte likens the heroism of frontliners to that of Filipinos who defended Bataan and Corregidor in World War II

President Rodrigo Duterte honored health and essential frontliners in his message for Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) on Friday, April 9.

In his message, Duterte likened the heroism of frontliners to the heroism of Filipino soldiers who defended Bataan and Corregidor in 1942 against Japanese invaders in World War II.

“As we continue to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, we take a moment to honor the fortitude displayed by our selfless and dedicated frontliners whose unrelenting commitment in this fight reflects the heroism of the warriors of Bataan that continues to inspire in us a greater sense of patriotism and solidarity during these trying times,” said Duterte.

The bravery of Filipinos in the face of defeat and cruelty by Japanese forces serves as a reminder to all of the “unyielding determination of the Filipino to prevail over all forms of adversity,” said Duterte.

He also spoke of how that courage, displayed nearly 80 years ago, paved the way for an independent and democratic Philippines.

“Today, we honor our fallen soldiers whose sacrifice became the bedrock of our resolve to uphold our most cherished liberties. May this awareness resonate among us as we strive to become worthy heirs to the nation that they fought and bled for,” said Duterte.

The President, however, has been criticized for authoritarian-like tendencies, with his constant threats against opposition groups, attacks on media and journalists, and his violent drug war.

His administration is also besieged by allegations, even from allies, of incompetence in handling the pandemic. 

A day before Araw ng Kagitingan, new COVID-19 cases again shot up to 9,200, bringing the total active cases in the country to 167,279.

In her Araw ng Kagitingan message, Vice President Leni Robredo likened the dark days of World War II to the country’s battle against COVID-19, as she rallied the people to unite against this common enemy. She also said during these times,”no Filipino has to be heroic on his own.”–

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at