Aquino: Live out ideals fought for by heroes
“Konting bato, konting semento, monumento (A little rock, a little cement, then you have a monument).”
President Aquino recalled this saying from the days when he was much younger as he referred to the “very spirit of our commemoration of National Heroes Day.”
Speaking during ceremonies on Monday at Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City, Aquino said: “Indeed, it’s easy to build a monument but it will have no meaning, it will stand for nothing if we failed to live out the ideals fought for by the individuals we honor through such structures.”
“Today, we express our gratitude to our fellow Filipinos who wholeheartedly faced peril to fight for what is right and just … they who put the interest of the many above their own,” the President told government officials, diplomats and veterans groups.
They are all heroes “whether or not a memorial stands in their honor, whether their names are written in the pages of history,” he added.
The President did not mention the 44 Special Action Force commandos killed in a January encounter with Moro rebels in Maguindanao but Malacañang explained that Monday—a public holiday—“specifies no hero.”
Book about heroes
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma cited an Official Gazette statement that said such a lack of specifics “offers an opportunity to celebrate the bravery of … all Filipino heroes who have braved death or persecution for nation, for justice and freedom.”
Aquino acknowledged receipt of the first copy of the book “Ang Mamatay nang Dahil Sa ’Yo (To Die for You),” published by the National Historical Commission.
The publication “honors our martyrs and the many Filipino heroes who went up against the (Marcos) dictatorship during martial law from 1972 to 1986. They are among those we recognize today,” the President said.
“Indeed, this book is something worthy to be passed on to this generation and even those that will follow … so they may avoid the errors of the past and to serve as guide to building a better future,” he said.
“Whenever … oppression takes place, there is a perpetrator and there is the victim,” he also said.
“If you are not the abuser and you are not being abused, then we must ask, what did you do? [It is] in these moments that heroes are needed.”
Staying on sidelines
Aquino said that if one simply stood on the sidelines without complaining, “is it not true that you have only added to the problem and thus prolonged the suffering of your fellowmen?”
He added that if even only one person took a stand and opposed a wrongdoing, “then I am certain that the vicious cycle of abuse and lack of justice will be ended.”
He noted that “from the 1896 Revolution to the Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986 … so many Filipinos have proven that we can bring about meaningful change.”
“The only thing … needed is that we link arms and work together as a nation,” the President said. “In that way, the heavy burdens we carry as a country need not be carried by a few shoulders alone.”
He said this brought to mind what his father said: “We should not depend on one man. We should depend on all of us.” Jerry E. Esplanada
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.