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Duterte skips Rizal Day rites in Davao City to rest, says Bong Go

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 05:06 AM December 31, 2018
HANDLE WITH CARE Soldiers raise a Philippine flag that was accidentally ripped during ceremonies for Rizal Day at the Rizal Park on Sunday. JOAN BONDOC

HANDLE WITH CARE Soldiers raise a Philippine flag that was accidentally ripped during ceremonies for Rizal Day at the Rizal Park on Sunday. JOAN BONDOC

President Duterte skipped Rizal Day ceremonies in Davao City on Sunday to “rest,” according to former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go.

Mr. Duterte took a rest as Rizal’s heroism was commemorated with variations of what his relevance is today highlighting which side of the political fence lay officials commenting on Rizal’s life and deeds.

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From the opposition, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said Rizal would have been a social media influencer and not a “troll” if he were alive today.

It was in apparent reference to the use of social media trolls by camps supporting President Duterte.

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Rizal’s “lofty ideals, as reflected in his writings and works, inspired our forefathers to be braver and united the Filipinos to carry on his cause,” Pangilinan said.

Another opposition senator, Leila de Lima, urged Filipinos to emulate Rizal’s courage and values by “reawakening their sense of bravery in standing up against intimidation, injustices and hopelessness.”

Brute force

In a statement, she said Filipinos should inspire hope and courage in fighting “oppressors” instead of promoting the use of brute force.

“During this dark chapter in our history, when there is a prevailing culture of impunity and blatant attempts to desensitize us to violence and corruption, we are called upon to speak up, stand up and fight back,” De Lima said.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara lamented that unifying the country “remains an uphill battle because many Filipinos still experience extreme poverty and suffer from lack of education.”

He said Filipinos today should give flesh to the right to life and dignity, which Rizal and other national heroes fought for more than a century ago.

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free college pioneer

Sen. Bam Aquino, another opposition senator, said the government could truly honor Rizal’s memory by fully implementing the free college tuition law and making sure young Filipinos benefited from it.

“The truth is one of the first ones who dreamed of affordable education programs, like free college, for Filipino youth was Jose Rizal,” he said.

Sen. Loren Legarda described Rizal as an “unparalleled visionary.”

“His ideas began the revolution that earned us our freedom, and his integrity and nationalism continue to inspire new generations,” she said.

Florin Hilbay, former solicitor general and now senatorial candidate, said Filipinos of today should emulate Rizal.

In a statement, Hilbay said Rizal’s story “is a continued struggle and victory against invaders, oppressors, tyrants and dictators.”

Hilbay said before the country recognized Rizal’s heroism and sacrifice, the national hero was just “an ordinary Filipino whose dream was to wake up in a Philippines that is free from injustices.”

Mr. Duterte called on the public to emulate Rizal’s patriotism by engaging in “nation-building.” —WITH A REPORT FROM MARLON RAMOS AND JULIE AURELIO

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