MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to keep embers of nationalism alive and to strengthen and protect their freedom as the country marks the 123rd death anniversary of Filipino hero, Dr. Jose Rizal on Monday, December 30.
In his message, Duterte hailed Rizal’s “ardent love of country and unfettered desire” to cultivate his and the nation’s intellect that “led to a reawakening of the Filipino’s patriotism and sense of responsibility.”
“May his shining example to always think of the greater good be emulated by generations of our youth who look up to him today,” he said.
“Let us keep the embers of nationalism alive as we courageously face the challenges of apathy and divisiveness, and triumph over them just like what Rizal tenaciously did more than 120 years ago,” he added.
He also called on the Filipino people to further fortify and protect their liberty by showing solidarity in combating some of the country’s woes.
“May the freedom we now enjoy as a people be cherished, be further fortified and be kept thriving through the solidarity that we show in combatting the ills of illegal drugs, corruption and criminality,” he said.
“Together, let us strengthen and protect our liberty that our heroes have so unselfishly shed their blood for,” he added.
Duterte was in Davao City to lead the observance of Rizal Day on Monday morning. He joined his children, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, in offering a wreath of flowers to the hero’s shrine there.
He again skipped the commemoration rites of Rizal Day at Rizal Park in Manila, and was represented by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
After leading the commemoration rites in Davao, Duterte then left for Davao del Sur to visit those who were affected by the recent earthquake.
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Davao del Sur on December 15. Its epicenter was traced some six kilometers away from the town of Padada, at a depth of 30 kilometers.
The recent tremor was also felt in some parts of Mindanao which were also jolted by a series of earthquakes last October. Particularly, the province of Cotabato suffered three succeeding temblors – magnitude 6.3 on October 16, magnitude 6.6 on October 29 and magnitude 6.5 on October 31. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marisol Montaño)
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