President Duterte paid tribute to “great Filipino” Dr. Jose Rizal and the many “Rizals” on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

In a message on Rizal Day, the President said he hopes people will continue to celebrate Rizal and the modern-day heroes, including frontliners, and “learn from their example.”

December 30, an annual national holiday, marks the martyrdom of Rizal. He was executed by firing squad in 1896 in Bagumbayan field, now known as Rizal Park, for sedition and rebellion during the Spanish colonial rule. The patriot’s life and writings inspired the Philippine struggle for reforms and independence.

A hundred twenty-four years since Rizal’s martyrdom, Duterte highlighted the inspiring heroism among many Filipinos, especially those battling the pandemic.

“Today, we see many ‘Rizals’ fighting for our people, this time against an unseen adversary — a pandemic. We have our brave frontliners who continue to serve the nation in their unique capacities notwithstanding the risks to life and limb. In them, we see a new expression of heroism that is truly inspiring,” he said.

“May we continue to celebrate Jose Rizal and our modern-day heroes, to learn from their example, and to express the love and respect of a grateful nation,” he added.

The President did not physically attend the Rizal Day ceremony in Luneta Wednesday and instead sent a pre-recorded message. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana represented the President during the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites.

Duterte, in his message, honored the bravery and patriotism of Rizal, saying people continue to celebrate and emulate his life.
He said Rizal was “a loving son, a good student, a dedicated and a passionate writer and, most especially, a defender of our right to self-determination.”

“Rizal had great aspirations for his motherland and he used the power of the pen to convey sentiment against oppression and yearnings for emancipation. To the extent that it ignited a stronger sense of nationhood and a revolution, he was successful. He was our hero,” he said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (