Duterte, Robredo led Independence Day commemoration in separate rites; both called for unity

Maria Romero
PUBLISHED June 13, 2018 03:49 pm | UPDATED June 14, 2018 10:58 am

(Inside Manila) On Tuesday, the Philippines marked the 120th anniversary of its independence with the theme “Pagbabagong Ipinaglalaban, Alay sa Masaganang Kinabukasan.”

Filipino communities from different parts of the country and around the globe organized annual parades and other cultural commemorative ceremonies to celebrate our sovereignty. This year, the projected ceremonies in Aguinaldo’s Shrine in Kawit, Cavite and Rizal Park in Luneta, Manila were separately graced by President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo.

Defend our cherished democratic ideals now

President Duterte raising the Philippine Flag at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. Photo from philstar.com/Krizjohn Rosales.

In his first Independence Day speech in Kawit, Cavite, President Duterte recalled the selfless sacrifices of the noble men and women who fought for the sovereignty that we are enjoying now.

“This historic day forms the foundation of the liberties we enjoy today. Through the patriotic fervor shown by our forefathers, we have freed ourselves from colonial subjugation and proved to the world that we stand united as the pioneer of republican democracy in Asia,” the President said.

He also encouraged Filipinos, no matter the status in life, to significantly take their responsibilities in preserving and defending the country’s “cherished democratic ideals now and in the years to come" in order to sustain the positive change that the administration has achieved for the country.

“May solidarity and heroism exhibited by our ancestors fuel our desire to spur meaningful and lasting change in our communities as we collectively battle the social ills of corruption, illegal drugs and criminality that impede our progress as a nation,” he said.

However, his speech was heckled by a lightning rally of activists branding him and chanting, “Hunyo a-dose, huwad na kalayaan! Pasista. Duterte, patalsikin!” to which the leader answered “’Yung mga nag-protesta, mahal ko rin sila.”

He was briefly caught off guard in the middle of his speech and reminded the pocket of protesters that they are free to express their condemnations because our Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, assembly, and expression. 

"Okay lang. I will understand," he asserted.

Filipino will not concede defeat

Vice President Leni Robredo standing tall amidst rain at the Rizal Park in Luneta, Manila. Photo from AFP/Noel Celis.

Meanwhile in her separate speech in Luneta, Manila, Vice President Robredo also called for unity in the midst of dangers dividing the nation.

“In these times, it seems our independence is being confronted by different faces of danger: from the spread of poverty along with inflation to injustice; from neglect of human rights to territorial grab by foreign forces,” said Robredo.

“In the face of all these, the Filipino I know will not concede defeat. Instead, the Filipino I know will stand up with all the courage to fight for our freedom,” she added in her remark.

The vice president remained optimistic and hearten her countrymen to fight back and renew their hopes and strengths in solidifying our freedom.

She also emphasized that Filipinos must fight for their rights because "what's ours is ours."

It was a quip at the president who is currently facing criticisms because of his alleged “inhumane” war on drugs campaign and for cozying up while Chinese are harassing the Filipino fishermen of its rights and resources in Scarborough or Panatag Shoal. - with reports from philstar.com



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