PH leaders commemorate Independence Day with calls for unity

(NEWS 5) On the commemoration of the 126th anniversary of Philippine independence, Philippine leaders shared warm messages reflecting on the nation’s past and the ongoing challenges it faces.

Pres. Ferdinand” Bongbong” Marcos emphasized in his Independence Day message that it is an honor for every Filipino to be part of a courageous lineage that fought to restore independence and peace to our nation. He also urged Filipinos to strengthen not only their courage but also unity and cooperation.

“Bilang tagapagmana ng kalayaan na tinatamasa natin ngayon, tungkulin ng bawat isa sa atin na pangalagaan ito at tiyakin na hindi na tayo kailanman magpapatinag sa banta ng pananakot, pananakop at pang-aapi,” he said.

Vice Pres. Sara Duterte, who led the Independence Day commemoration in Davao City, also called for unity and cooperation among Filipinos towards a prosperous nation, stating, “Ang araw na ito ay isang pag-alala at pagkilala sa ating mga bayani, sa lahat ng sakripisyo nila para sa ating kalayaan at kasarinlan.”

Senators also shared messages that underscored the need to protect the nation’s independence.

Sen. Grace Poe called on Filipinos, especially government officials, to always ask: What have we done for our fellow Filipinos and for the flag.

She said that in many years, the country’s independence has never been challenged the way it is being tested now — with aggressions in our seas; illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) creeping into the economy and perhaps, politics; and the nonchalance of some to wrongdoings, injustice and indigence.

“Ginawa na ng ating mga bayani ang kanilang tungkulin para sa mga Pilipino. Panahon natin ngayon na ipagpatuloy ang pagtatanggol sa bansa para manatiling malaya,” she said.

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros also called on Filipinos to defend the country’s territory and resources against external threats. She reiterated her call to ban the POGOs in the country as the Senate continues its probe into their illegal activities.

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada highlighted the collective efforts needed to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty. In his message, Estrada stressed that the true spirit of freedom is best expressed in our readiness to fight for our sovereignty whenever it is challenged.

Sen. Bong Revilla, speaking in Kawit, Cavite, stressed the importance of unity in achieving national aspirations, stating, “Sa parehong diwa ng pagkakaisa na naging sandigan ng ating tagumpay noon, at pundasyon ng pamumuno ni Pangulong Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr. ngayon, akin pong hinihikayat ang bawat isa na makilahok sa kasalukuyang pagsisikap at pagsikad tungo sa Bagong Pilipinas.”

On the other hand, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, speaking at Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, emphasized that freedom and independence come with the responsibility to fight for a just society.

While the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in a message from Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr., read by Col. Jose Ambrosio Rustia, reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the nation’s sovereignty stating, “Our nation’s long history of sacrifice and unwavering love for its homeland is the true source of the Philippines’ independence.”