Mga kababayan, magandang umaga sa inyong lahat.
At the outset, I would like to thank you all for joining this virtual flag ceremony by which we commemorate the 122nd anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence. This year, we are forced by circumstance to make use of new technology to ensure that we are still able to meet and be united in spirit despite stringent physical distancing measures and other disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, we awoke to a situation which most of us have never encountered before—everyone was required to shelter and take cover against the insidious attack of an unseen enemy that has claimed many lives and stopped the world in its tracks. In the face of economic uncertainties, social adjustments, and the new normal that we are now required to be familiar with, it is easy to feel embattled, beleaguered, and beset by huge difficulties.
Our ancestors must have felt the same way 122 years ago when they rose against colonial rule to create a new republic where freedom and equality could hold sway. By their actions, we know of their courage, determination and unshakable patriotism in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. By their individual and collective sacrifices, we now enjoy the blessings of democracy and national sovereignty. They were heroes because they were able to conquer their fear and fight for what they believed in.
At present, we are witness to similar accounts of heroism as the Philippines, the UK, Ireland and the rest of the world face the huge challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to commend our Consulate in Dublin, Ireland for their hard work and dedication to duty especially during these trying times. Filipino heroes have taken center stage to inspire courage and perseverance wherever they are—be it in the COVID-19 wards and ICUs of hospitals, in various care homes, aboard fishing boats and oil tankers, at the supermarkets and factories, in the transportation, sanitation and social welfare offices of local governments, in law enforcement, and in various volunteering roles that bring material assistance and moral support to those who suffer under the lockdown. They are heroes because they are able to conquer their fears and fights no just for themselves but for those who depend on them.
We are indeed a nation of heroes, and we bring this heroism with us wherever the tides of fortune carry us. And so, let today’s commemoration of an auspicious event in our nation’s history be a celebration of the huge contribution that these present day heroes offer to our society. And may it serve as an encouragement for all of us to also do our part in building a strong and stable republic and in nurturing a more caring and compassionate society. Maging bahagi sana tayo ng pagsulong tungo sa isang bansang malaya, nagbabayanihan, at ligtas.
Maligayang araw ng Kalayaan, at mabuhay ang Pilipinas!