Philippine Independence Day

Duterte honors ‘modern-day heroes’ on 123rd Independence Day

Pauline Macaraeg
Duterte honors ‘modern-day heroes’ on 123rd Independence Day

INDEPENDENCE DAY. President Rodrigo Duterte gives a speech at the Bulacan Capitol Grounds to commemorate the Philippines' 123rd Independence Day.

Presidential Communications Group video screenshot

The President says a wall of heroes is being built in the Libingan ng mga Bayani to honor healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, and other frontliners who died during the pandemic

President Rodrigo Duterte honored healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, and other frontline workers and called them “modern-day heroes” during his Independence Day speech at the Bulacan Capitol Grounds in Malolos City, Bulacan.

“As we commemorate this Independence Day, let us honor our modern-day heroes: our healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, and other frontliners who have been instrumental in our fight against COVID-19 pandemic,” Duterte said on Saturday, June 12.

The President went to Bulacan to confer posthumously the Order of Lapu Lapu to the kin of General Gregorio Del Pilar and Marcelo del Pilar in celebration of the country’s 123rd Independence Day.

Duterte created the Order of Lapu Lapu through an executive order in 2017. It is awarded to officials, government personnel, and private citizens “in recognition of invaluable or extraordinary service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.”

In his speech, Duterte urged Filipinos to honor the legacy of the two heroes by doing small acts of heroism as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wall of heroes

Duterte also said that a wall of heroes is being built in the Libingan ng mga Bayani to honor the sacrifices of frontline heroes who died because of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Thank you for the gratuitous consent, the Armed Forces [of the Philippines] agreed to build a wall of heroes in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. All of those who died – doctors, nurses, attendants who contracted COVID-19 [while at work] – will be honored by having their name inscribed on that wall. It is now being built and I’d like to thank the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their concern for their fellow Filipino,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The President also thanked these modern-day heroes for their service and sacrifices over the past year.

West Philippine Sea

Duterte, however, made no mention of the West Philippine Sea, which several groups have pointed out as a major issue to address during the commemoration of Independence Day.

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On 123rd Independence Day, groups slam gov’t over West Philippine Sea

On 123rd Independence Day, groups slam gov’t over West Philippine Sea

In separate statements, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, and Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) all slammed the Duterte government’s lack of urgency in defending Philippine rights over the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com

Pauline Macaraeg

Pauline Macaraeg is digital forensics researcher for Rappler. She started as a fact checker and researcher in 2019, before becoming part of Rappler's Digital Forensics Team. She writes about the developing digital landscape, as well as the spread and impact of disinformation and harmful online content. When she's not working, you can find her listening to podcasts or K-pop bops.