MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday called on the public to use the heroism of Gat Andres Bonifacio as a “guiding post” in overcoming the nation’s challenges, including the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In his speech at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City during Bonifacio’s 158th birth anniversary, Duterte emphasized the importance of remembering Bonifacio’s heroism as it continued to provide a sense of hope, determination, and optimism for today’s generation of Filipinos.
“The bravery and patriotism of Gat Andres Bonifacio and many of our forebears who fought against foreign dominators must serve as our guiding post in beating the odds that hinder our progress as a people and as a nation,” he said.
Duterte described the event as a constant reminder of the contributions and sacrifices of Bonifacio and other national heroes, in paving the way for liberty and independence.
He enjoined Filipinos to emulate Bonifacio by actively participating in nation-building efforts, especially the “challenging times when we have to secure our nation’s health, safety, and wellness.”
“In this light, I call on our kababayans to emulate Gat Andres Bonifacio’s strong sense of civic duty, courage, love of country in our daily lives even in the simplest ways,” he added.
Filipinos, he said, should give their very best for the benefit of the people and nation.
Meanwhile, Duterte congratulated San Juan City for successfully hosting the celebration in the Pinaglabanan Shrine, which played an important role in the Katipunan’s quest for Philippine independence.
“What makes this year’s celebration of Bonifacio Day even more special are the newly restored El Deposito Underground Reservoir and the new diorama exhibit at the Museo ng Katipunan, which showcases the historical Battle of San Juan del Monte,” he said.
The President also thanked the National Historical Commission of the Philippines for undertaking the restoration and rehabilitation of the historical and cultural landmarks, noting that these “provide the new generation of Filipinos a glimpse of our long and colorful history and heritage.”
“Indeed, remembering historical events such as these (is) vital to enriching our understanding and appreciation for our nation’s culture,” he said.
For Duterte, revisiting and honoring the past will impart a stronger sense of nationhood to present and future generations of Filipinos.
In a separate statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar echoed Duterte’s call to be inspired by Bonifacio’s patriotism, bravery, and sense of camaraderie.
“May it also ignite in our hearts the collective will to respond to societal ills and challenges, such as poverty, insurgency, terrorism, corruption, illegal drugs, and the Covid-19 pandemic for our nation’s progress and development. May this desire propel our nation towards justice, prosperity, a comfortable life for all Filipinos, and our recovery as one nation,” he added.
Unlike other national heroes, Bonifacio is remembered on his birthday, Nov. 30, 1863, rather than the date of his death, May 10, 1897, as he was executed by fellow Filipinos.
Proclamation 1107, signed by Duterte on February 26, declares Bonifacio Day a regular holiday. (PNA)