DURING the American colonial period in 1931, the Filipino members of the Philippine Legislature enacted the National Heroes Day into law through Act No. 3827.
The law honors all the nation’s heroes, known and unknown, for fighting for the country’s independence; it also commemorates the August 1896 Cry of Pugadlawin by the Katipunan that sparked the revolution against the Spanish Empire.
Nearly 90 years after the law was passed, the local politicians’ rhetoric shifted its focus to the sacrifices made by the frontliners amid an ongoing pandemic.
Mass gathering restrictions pushed local governments to make the commemorations simple and somber.
In Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Junard Chan paid tribute to the frontliners in the fight against Covid-19—doctors, nurses, police and military officers, city hall employees and volunteers.
After the flag was raised, Chan led the offering of flowers before the monument of Lapulapu, who is considered a hero for defending his turf in Mactan against invaders, at the Liberty Shrine in Barangay Mactan.
For Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, he said “not all heroes wear capes.”
Garganera is the deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The Cebu City Government dedicated this year’s National Heroes’ Day to all the frontliners.
Garganera said the members of the EOC, the cluster heads, ground personnel, medical and non-medical personnel, police force, and the barangay officials deserved to be celebrated during the National Heroes Day.
Mayor Edgardo Labella, in a statement posted on his Facebook page, said what the healthcare workers, who are at the frontline of the Covid-19 response efforts, are doing is the new form of heroism.
“While we are still at the height of this global pandemic, our situation demands from us a new form of sacrifice and heroism—one that is shown by our healthcare workers who are at the frontline of our Covid response efforts,” said Labella.
Garganera said every one who has been practicing the health protocols are also considered heroes.
While the City highlighted the sacrifices of the modern-day heroes like the frontliners, the City also remembered the sacrifices of the recognized, as well as the unsung heroes.
The Cultural and Historical Affairs Office held a wreath-laying ceremony at Rizal Memorial Library and Museum on Osmeña Blvd. on Monday morning, Aug. 30, 2021, before the paintings of local heroes.
During the ceremony, Dante Arcilla Jr., who represented Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama, read the message of the vice mayor, who reminded the public that everyone can be a hero.
“Heroes don’t need to be extraordinary, it is that heroes, us, we have to make the extraordinary ordinary by advocating (for) the truth, by advocating goodness, by always standing by what is right,” Arcilla said, quoting Rama. (GCM, JJL)