MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte joined the nation on Monday in celebrating the country's 119th anniversary of its independence calling on Filipinos to become responsible citizens.
"I join the entire Filipino nation in celebrating the 119th anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence," President Duterte said in a statement.
The President paid tribute to thousands of Filipinos who perished fighting for freedom more than a century ago, which he described as "long and arduous".
He said the country's long journey to freedom was achieved through the Filipinos' blood, sweat and the ultimate act of selfless sacrifice.
"Despite the insurmountable hardships, the patriotism and undaunted spirit of the Filipino led to our triumph against the shackles of slavery and abuse," he said.
"On that day, we showed our colonizers and the rest of the world what Filipinos are made of," he added.
In celebrating the 119th anniversary of Philippine independence carrying this year's theme "Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-samang Balikatin", the Chief Executive encouraged Filipinos to take inspiration from the country's forebears "who valiantly fought and offered their lives so that we may have the liberties that we enjoy today."
"Let us pay homage to their heroism by preserving our sovereignty and performing our own civic rights and responsibilities," he said.
"After all, it is our inherent duty as citizens to ensure that the Philippines fulfills its destiny as a great and prosperous nation," he ended.
Simultaneous activities were conducted in various provinces in the country to commemorate the nation's Independence Day.
Flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies were held at Rizal Park attended by Vice President Leni Robredo and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and other government officials.
Source: Philippines News Agency