MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte hopes for true independence for the country "within our lifetimes," he said in his 2019 Independence Day message on Wednesday, June 12.
Saying Filipino heroes fought for this future, Duterte said present-day Filipinos should help uplift the country.
"Let us commit ourselves to ensure that their sacrifices have not been in vain and that their dream of a truly independent Philippines – whose people live freely in a secure, stable, and prosperous society – will be achieved within our lifetimes," said Duterte.
President Duterte hopes for a "truly independent Philippines" within our lifetimes. Read his 2019 Independence Day message below. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/fACs6mdgD9 — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) June 12, 2019
He described the day the Philippines gained independence as "the most significant event in our country's history."
"Not only did we put an end to more than 3 centuries of subservience but we also resolved to determine the course of our own destiny as a nation," he said.
"The tree of liberty blossomed on these lands because it was nourished by the sweat and blood of our patriots, heroes, and martyrs," he added.
Duterte will commemorate the national holiday in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, with soldiers of the military's 6th Infantry Battalion.
Malacañang could not explain why Duterte chose this venue for Independence Day, given more traditional celebrations usually held in Cavite.
"I'll ask him about that. There must be some special reason, and I'm sure he will say that in his speech," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.