Pinoys urged: Unleash heroes within us

(MALAYA) PRESIDENT Marcos Jr. yesterday urged Filipinos to unleash the heroes within themselves for the sake of their family and community and dedicate it to building a new Philippines that is strong, prosperous, resilient, and secure for present and future generations.

In his National Heroes’ Day message, the President paid tribute to the “unsung champions” – from soldiers and statesmen to those that we meet in our daily lives such as the farmers, teachers, and electricians, among others.

Marcos said that while the country dedicates a time each year to commemorate notable Philippine heroes from the country’s history who dedicated their lives to all the liberties that everyone enjoys, it is just as crucial to remember the lives and deeds of the many lesser-known and unnamed Filipinos who played pivotal roles in shaping the nation.

“Our unsung champions prove that heroism is not limited to the Herculean. It also includes the honest, earnest, and compassionate living that we do every day… If all of this means anything, it is that each of us has the capacity to be a hero of our nation,” said.

“As we recognize our forebears whose uncelebrated legacies our society is built on, let us also realize our own power to become heroes for our families and communities. May this consciousness then ignite us to be dedicated in our agenda of creating a new Philippines that is strong, prosperous, resilient, and secure for present and future generations,” he added.

The President, in a separate speech during the commemorative ceremony at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City yesterday, recognized the heroism of the electric lineman from Bacolod City, who braved typhoon Egay floods and risked his life to repair broken electrical wires to prevent the greater danger of electrocution; a farmer who prevailed over harsh weather and economic conditions to ensure a successful harvest; and a teacher who strives not only to be a good teacher but also to be a patient and persevering multi-tasker in various activities.

Marcos also acknowledged the heroism of a teacher who lent a hand to an elderly neighbor in need during the ghastly wildfires in Maui, Hawaii; the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose remittances continue to serve as a strong pillar of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country; and the late Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople for promoting the welfare of OFWs.

He said the sacrifices of these heroes should and would not be taken for granted but instead perpetuate the ideals that they have fought for and rectify the unsafe, inequitable, or exceptionally difficult conditions that necessitated their selfless deeds.

“In our journey forward as a nation, we must break free from the notion that heroes are only those who have earned a place in the National Pantheon, immortalized in monuments, or those whose names are inscribed in streets, or whose lives are chronicled in biographies,” he said

“While the memories of our heroes of our storied past will never fade, new ones continue to emerge. They are here amongst us, in the daily bustle of modern-day society, in our communities, in our own families and inner circles… Collectively, their heroic acts, small or large, go a long way and make our country and the world a better place,” he added.

The President led the offering of the wreath at the Tomb of Unnamed Heroes at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the flag-raising ceremony yesterday that was also attended by Speaker Martin Romualdez, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles John Brown, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr., Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairman Emmanuel Calairo, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr., and Taguig City Mayor Laarni Cayetano, among others.

The commemoration of National Heroes Day started during the American Colonial Period, with the enactment of Act No. 3827 on October 28, 1931 that declared the last Sunday of August of every year an official national holiday.

On March 20, 1942, then President Jose P. Laurel signed Executive Order No. 20 which set National Heroes Day on November 30. It was reverted back to the last Sunday of August by former President Elpidio Quirino.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, however, through Republic Act No. 9492, placed the observance of the National Heroes Day on the last Monday of August as part of her “Holiday Economics” program in a bid to reduce work disruptions by moving holidays to the nearest Monday or Friday of the week.


In Lapu-Lapu City, Vice President Sara Duterte called on Filipinos to be heroes themselves and unite for the country.

“As Filipinos, we should find the heroes within us— carve a soul that is fearless, a soul that is selfless —and forge a unity that will enable us to overcome the challenges of the present day and enable us to achieve our aspirations for our country,” Duterte said during the National Heroes Day celebration at the Liberty Shrine, the home of Lapu-Lapu.

She said Lapu-Lapu’s heroism “foreshadowed the bravery of the heroes who started the Philippine Revolution in 1896.”

Rep. France Castro (PL, ACT), however, said that while the country was honoring its heroes, the Department of Education, under Duterte as concurrent Education Secretary, has been implementing its “bare wall” policy in classrooms, which prohibits the posting of pictures, including those of national heroes.

“As we commemorate National Heroes Day and the Cry of Pugadlawin, I urge the Department of Education to reconsider its ‘bare wall’ policy and instead encourage the display of images that honor our national heroes. By doing so, we can ensure that our children grow up with a strong sense of pride and love for our country,” she said.

Castro said the DepEd’s removal of pictures of “revolutionary heroes” from classrooms “appears to contradict the goal of nurturing a sense of patriotism and love for our country among the younger generation.”

She further emphasized the importance of providing students with a comprehensive understanding of our history, including the heroism and sacrifices of those who fought for the nation’s freedom.

Castro called on the Department of Education to reconsider this policy “and promote a curriculum that fosters a deep appreciation for our national heroes and their contributions to our country.”

In her speech, the Vice President told the crowd led by Mayor Junard Chan: “Datu Lapu-Lapu’s triumph is a powerful manifestation that we are a race of people who are selfless and fearless in the face of adversities- and a people deeply connected by a strong sense of unity.”

She said Lapu-Lapu’s heroism “foreshadowed the bravery of the heroes who started the Philippine Revolution in 1896.”

She said she agreed with her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, who claimed Lapu-Lapu was the first Filipino hero.

“And 375 years later, in Balintawak, this unity, this selflessness, and this fearlessness were once again unleashed by the Katipuneros, who tore their cedulas— signifying the start of the fight against Spanish rule,” she added.

Duterte said Filipinos are “once again reminded of their courage, sacrifices, and unwavering commitment—along with the many nameless Filipinos who also fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

“They laid the groundwork for the freedom and opportunities we relish today,” she said.

“Let their sacrifices inspire us to raise a new generation of fearless and selfless Filipinos who are united by their love of country.”


Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada reminded Filipinos to “reaffirm our commitment to embody the admirable qualities of our heroes” as the nation celebrated National Heroes’ Day.

“Their legacy inspires us to create positive change, stand up for what is right, and contribute to the welfare of our society,” Estrada said.

He said the celebration of the National Heroes’ Day this year is very meaningful since President Marcos Jr. signed into law the increase in the monthly pension of disabled veterans which he principally authored.

“I’m proud that this year’s National Heroes Day celebration coincided with the enactment of a measure that increases our veterans’ disability pension. This law isn’t just a legal achievement, it’s a way to show our appreciation for their service and a reminder that their contributions to our country are highly valued,” Estrada said.

“Let us honor our heroes by striving for a future that embodies the values they fought to protect,” he added.


Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said the local government unit will honor the heroic deeds of society’s “behind the scenes” heroes in observance of National Heroes Day.

Sotto said that for every hero we know, there are hundreds, thousands, or even billions more behind the scenes that contributed to what we have today.

“There are heroes who are popular, known, and truly honorable. But there are also heroes who remain nameless or unknown whose roles in our revolutionary history are just as important or, as we uncover in the future, more significant,” Sotto said.

Sotto cited the “Nagsabado sa Pasig which the city commemorates every August 29 which remembers the heroism of 2,000 representatives from almost every family in Pasig who marched to what is now called “Plaza Rizal” and successfully fought Spanish forces to seize the offices of the Guardia Civil.

It was one of the first victories of the Katipuneros during the Spanish colonial revolution led by Gen. Valentin Cruz.

The mayor urged everyone to realize the essence of collective efforts in bringing about genuine societal change, reminiscent of the solidarity of Filipinos during the “Nagsabado,” colonial, and world war periods. – With Wendell Vigilia, Raymond Africa, and Christian Oineza