Duterte tells Filipinos to move forward with courage, hope on Independence Day amid COVID-19 battle

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday called on the Filipino people to “move forward with courage, hope, and optimism,” as the country and the rest of the world battle with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In his message for the country’s 122nd Independence Day commemoration, Duterte urged Filipinos to show the same gallantry exercised by the nation’s forefathers.

“As we wage a united battle against COVID-19, we now have the opportunity to demonstrate that we possess the same gallantry of spirit and nobility of character as the heroes of our past,” Duterte said.

“Let us now move forward with courage, hope and optimism as we overcome this pandemic,” he added.

Duterte skipped the Independence Day rites at the Rizal Park in Manila on Friday. He is currently staying in his hometown in Davao City.

“I join all Filipinos in celebrating the 122nd anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. One hundred and twenty-two years ago, our forefathers proudly proclaimed the birth of the Filipino nation,” he said.

“Today we honor them for their bravery, heroism and sacrifice as well as we thank them for the gifts of democracy and freedom,” he added.

Several groups have scheduled to hold online and street rallies on Friday despite prohibition on mass gathering as the country continues to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Police authorities have earlier appealed to the public not to mount any huge protest actions, citing possible health risks amid the coronavirus crisis.

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