Duterte urges Filipinos to combat apathy, divisiveness
President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Filipinos to celebrate their freedom by combating “apathy and divisiveness” and fighting illegal drugs, corruption and crime as a nation.
In a rare instance, the President was up early on Monday morning to lead the wreath-laying ceremonies for the 123rd commemoration of Rizal Day in Davao City.
“May the freedom we now enjoy as a people be cherished, be further fortified and be kept thriving through the solidarity that we show in combating the ills of illegal drugs, corruption and criminality,” he said in his message for the occasion.
Mr. Duterte added: “Let us keep the embers of nationalism alive as we courageously face the challenges of apathy and divisiveness, and triumph over them just like what Rizal tenaciously did more than 120 years ago.”
The Chief Executive arrived at 7:55 a.m. at Rizal Park in Davao City to lead the rites, accompanied by his daughter, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Sen. Christopher Go, and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
He immediately left after the ceremony concluded at 8:09 a.m.
Rizal Day marks the day of Rizal’s martyrdom by a firing squad on Dec. 30, 1896.
In his message released by Malacañang, the President noted that Rizal’s ardent love of country and desire to cultivate the intellect of his countrymen led “to a reawakening of the Filipinos’ patriotism and sense of responsibility.”
He appealed to the youth to follow Rizal’s “shining example to always think of the greater good,” calling on them to “strengthen and protect our liberty that our heroes so unselfishly shed their blood for.”
Echoing the words of Rizal, Vice President Leni Robredo said genuine progress cannot be achieved through brutal means.
“The effective solutions to the problems of our country can be achieved by doing what is right,” Robredo said in her official message.
“We cannot achieve genuine progress through hasty and brutal solutions, especially those that go against our law,” she added.
The Vice President also shared an excerpt from a letter that Rizal wrote to his friend Ferdinand Blumentritt, calling it a glimpse of his dream for the nation: “We want the happiness of the Philippines, but we want to obtain it through noble and just means, for right is on our side and therefore we ought not to do anything wrong.”
“If I have to act villainously in order to make my country happy, I would refuse to do it because I am sure that what is built on sand sooner or later would tumble down,” Rizal continued.
Doing what is right, Robredo said, would uplift the lives of every Filipino and would bring prosperity to the nation.
“May we remain steadfast in our principles and our resolve, so that we may achieve change that is just for all and without leaving anyone behind,” she said.
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