MANILA — As the nation celebrates National Heroes’ Day, President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday called on every Filipino to be more vigilant against those “who seek to sow doubt and lies” and those “who only pretend at reform.”
In his speech at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City, the President said today is the time to remember the country’s forefathers who have chosen “to set aside their personal agendas, their fears, and their own needs to fight for the benefit of the many.”
“They were fully aware of the dangers of going against those who had power, but they did not waver. They knew that if they did not use their intellect and their strength to resist it, then the vicious cycle of abuse and violence would continue. These are the people we consider heroes,” he said.
President Aquino said celebrating the National Heroes’ Day is also a “thanksgiving”.
“Because of their sacrifices, we enjoy different forms of freedom: We are free from invaders; we are free from the violence and devastation of war; we are free from dictatorship; we are free to express our opinions and reach for our dreams,” he said.
Today is also an opportunity “to reflect on the meaning of being a hero, not only in the past, but in our present situation,” he added.
“This is vital because even if our society has made much progress, it is clear that our battles continue. The responsibility to make certain that we will bequeath to coming generations a Philippines freer and more progressive still rests on our shoulders,” he noted.
In the four years since he assumed office in 2010, the President said the country has achieved reforms guided by the “tuwid na daan” (straight path) principle.
He, however, warned that there are still a select and selfish few “who remain determined to bring back the old and abusive political systems.”
“We have been treading the straight path for more than four years now. The seeds of change we have sown are already bearing fruit — and, seeing this, those who want to take advantage of the people are becoming desperate. Let us not waste the opportunity we have today. This is the only way that we can repay and honor the heroes who sacrificed much, so that our country could arrive at its present state,” he said.
“This is the only way for us to ensure that, when the next generations commemorate National Heroes’ Day, they will remember, express their gratitude for, and reflect on this chapter of our history, and they will say: This was indeed the time when all Filipinos decided, as one people, to become heroes,” he concluded.