President calls on Filipinos to defend freedom

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called on Filipinos to remain vigilant in defending the country from societal problems and other dangers to the nation’s liberty, as the country celebrated the 159th birth anniversary of national hero Andres Bonifacio on Wednesday.

BONIFACIO DAY RITES. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his speech at the Andres Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City on Wednesday to mark the 159th birth anniversary and national holiday in honor of the Katipunan founder. Ver Noveno

Mr. Marcos laid a wreath at the Monumento Circle in Caloocan City in honor of the founder of Philippine revolution against Spanish rule.

“Today, we cherish the freedoms we hold with even greater fervor as we commemorate the birth anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio. His spirit lives on in the stories we tell and use to build on his legacy, breathing new life into his words with our sense of duty and patriotism,” Marcos said.

“It is through the bold ideas of the Father of the Philippine Revolution that our heroic ancestors were able to muster the will and the courage to fight their oppressors, thereby paving the way to our motherland’s eventual emancipation,” he added.

The President said it was Bonifacio’s deeds “that provided the impetus for our collective liberation, which we are challenged to preserve and protect amid these trying times.”

“The shackles that once held our forebears may no longer constrain us, but we must remain vigilant in protecting our country from social ills and other elements that threaten our liberties,” Marcos said.

“I call on my fellow Filipinos to honor Bonifacio’s life of extraordinary selflessness by becoming dutiful and law-abiding citizens who will contribute towards a brighter and freer future for all Filipinos,” he added.

President Marcos Jr. also urged the Filipinos to be the best version of themselves and imitate the loyalty and love of country of Andres Bonifacio.

“This is why we must do anything to make ourselves best; to be a Filipino who is trustworthy and with love of country which is on par to our national heroes like Gat. Andres,” President Marcos said.

“We can do this with the help of our modern-day heroes, our doctors, nurses, soldiers and policemen and women, the OFWs, and every ‘Juan and Juana’ with full dedication to serve our countrymen,” Mr. Marcos said.

He said it was one of Bonifacio’s legacies that everyone can be a hero in his or her own way.

Speaker Martin G. Romualdez, who was with the President at the ceremony, urged Filipinos to honor Bonifacio and other heroes of the country by contributing their share to nation-building.

“We honor the sacrifices of our heroes by performing our respective civic duties and each contribute to nation-building. And in doing so, we become the heroes of our time,” Romualdez said.

BONIFACIO DAY RITES. Mr. Marcos is joined by Speaker Martin G. Romualdez and Caloocan City Mayor Dale Gonzalo Malapitan as he waves to his supporters. Ver Noveno

Vice President Sara Duterte expressed hope that Andres Bonifacio’s courage and heroism will instill a deep sense of patriotism among Filipinos as the country commemorates his 159th birth anniversary.

In a statement, Duterte highlighted Bonifacio’s love for the country and how it can inspire the nation to be united in facing difficulties.

“May his extraordinary love of our country continue to inspire us to be constantly united in overcoming the difficulties we face as a nation and realize our shared aspirations of a better life for all,” she said.

“[M]ay the fire he started in the name of freedom rekindle a deep sense of patriotism among us as we usher in a future strongly forged by our unyielding solidarity and our own acts of selflessness, courage, and bravery for our country and our fellow Filipinos,” she added.

Also joining the President in honoring Bonifacio were National Historical Commission Chairman Rene Escalante, members of the Senate and the Diplomatic Corps, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, Philippine National Police Chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr., Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu, Caloocan Rep. Oscar Malapitan, and Caloocan City Mayor Dale Gonzalo G. Malapitan.

The Department of National Defense (DND) also joined the nation in commemorating the birth of Bonifacio, also known as the country’s “Great Plebeian.”

In his message, DND officer in charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. urged all Filipinos to emulate the example of the hero in meeting the challenges of this generation with bravery and excellence.

“We may no longer be a country that grapples with the struggles we endured during the time of our great heroes, but our time presents new challenges that necessitate the same fervor, integrity, and excellence to defend and protect our nation’s peace and stability,” he said.

Faustino also called on all Filipinos to continue working for the betterment of the nation.

In a statement, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Bonifacio’s birth anniversary is a “timely reminder” of the revolutionary leader’s efforts to liberate the country “from the shackles of poverty and oppression.”

Inspired by Bonifacio, the current administration is committed to improving the Filipinos’ lives, Pangandaman said.

“As the Great Plebeian’s battle against societal ills remains as challenges up to this day, the Philippine government likewise remains steadfast in uplifting the lives of every Filipino,” she said.

Bonifacio, dubbed the “Father of the Philippine Revolution”, was born in Tondo, Manila on Nov. 30, 1863.

Unlike other national heroes, Bonifacio is remembered on his birthday rather than the date of his death as he was killed by his fellow Filipinos and not by Spanish colonizers.

Bonifacio was one of the founders of the “Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan” or “Katipunan”, a secret revolutionary movement that fought for the Philippines’ independence from Spain.

He became “Supremo” (supreme leader) of the Katipunan in 1895 but was forcibly replaced by Emilio Aguinaldo in 1897.

He was executed by his fellow Katipuneros on May 10, 1897, after Aguinaldo accused him of treason.

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