NAGA CITY — President Benigno S. Aquino III has called on Filipinos to relive the spirit of heroism that spurred the revolution against Spanish colonialism more than a hundred years ago.
In his message during the 116th anniversary celebration of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, the President said the sacrifices of Filipino heroes must be recognized and must serve as an inspiration, as the country pursues the righteous path that the administration champions.
“Bilang mga tagapagmana ng kalayaang ipinaglaban ng mga nauna sa atin, tungkulin po ng bawat isa sa ating hindi na hayaang bumalik ang ating bansa sa dati nitong kalagayan; ang hindi na muling magbunsod ng mga panibagong sakripisyo sa maraming Pilipino,” he said during the ceremony held at Plaza Quince Martires here Thursday.
With this in mind, the government continues to carry out major projects that will improve the conditions of the people in the Bicol region, he said, giving as an example the Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay, that is aimed at enhancing tourism and relations with other countries.
He also cited the proposed one-stop Migrants Resource Center in Naga City which intends to improve the competitiveness and skills of overseas Filipino workers.
The President also said that the Congress has passed the extension of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) charter to open up more opportunities to Bicolanos.
Urging the people to fight oppression, graft and corruption, and poverty, the President said, “Ang pagwawaksi sa korupsyon at pang-aabuso sa sistema saan man sa Pilipinas—sa lokal man o sa mga pambansang antas—ay magbubunga ng mas matibay na mga istitusyong makapaglilingkod sa bawat Pilipino.”
At the same time, he reminded the people to vote wisely in the election two years from now by choosing competent and pro-poor leaders, those who fight for the people’s rights and not those who only deliver flowery speeches and concentrate on entertaining the crowd.
“Pananagutan nating mag-iwan ng mas makatarungan at mas maunlad na Pilipinas kaysa ating dinatnan,” he said.
Heroism among Filipinos continues to this day in different forms, he said, citing the bravery of the Marines stationed in the Ayungin Shoal, the achievements of former Naga City mayor and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Jesse Robredo, and the courage of millions of Filipinos who gathered in EDSA during the 1986 revolution: the students, professionals, soldiers and policemen.
Naga City Mayor John Bongat meanwhile thanked the President for choosing his city as the venue for this year’s Independence Day celebration.
The Plaza Quince Martires was built in the heart of Naga City to recognize the heroism of Bicolano Ilustrados, who resisted the Spanish rule.
Eleven of the 15 martyrs from Bicol were executed in Bagumbayan in 1897, a few days after the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal. Two died in jail and the other two died while in exile in an African island.