President Rodrigo Duterte called on Filipinos to work together towards national progress as he led the 120th anniversary celebration of Dr. Jose Rizal's martyrdom at the Rizal Park on Friday.
The President arrived at Rizal Park around 7 a.m. Friday, December 30 and was given arrival honors. After that he led the flag-raising as well as the wreath laying rites for the national hero.
In his Rizal Day message, the President said the country is a fortunate recipient of Rizal's sacrifices, the freedom that he fought for and the self-identity and the honor that he strongly believed Filipinos ought to defend.
"Beyond his prodigious and various talents, Rizal is best honored when we regard him as a beacon and moral compass in these challenging and perilous times," the President said.
In Rizal's time, the country was fighting for independence, but today, Filipinos are fighting for freedom from poverty, crime, illegal drugs and corruption, he said.
Those are the country's present enemies, he stressed, noting that the government needs the active involvement of all sectors to win the current war and bring about genuine change in society.
As the country transforms and develops, there must be national unity, the President said, adding every Filipino should manifest the same fervor and dedication that motivated Rizal to action.
"Let us therefore emulate the traits of Rizal; let us be willing heroes -- patriotic, faithful and loyal to our Motherland," he said.
The President hoped that Friday's commemoration of the martyrdom of Rizal awaken the sense of heroism in every Filipino, committing to advocate good governance, rule of law, and end criminality and all forms of corruption.
He also urged the people to express compassion towards the poor and the less privileged.
Source: Philippines News Agency