Duterte hails heroism of âtroopsâ in war vs COVID-19
Screen grab from PTV4 shows President Duterte delivering his message as the country commemorated the 79th anniversary of Araw ng Kagitingan sa Bataan (Day of Valor) yesterday.
Screen grab from PTV4

Duterte hails heroism of ‘troops’ in war vs COVID-19

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - April 10, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte underscored in yesterday’s commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) the selfless display of dedication by the country’s frontline workers, including health care personnel who have been at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.

“As we continue to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, we take a moment to honor the fortitude displayed by our selfless and dedicated frontliners whose unrelenting commitment in this fight reflects the heroism of the warriors of Bataan that continues to inspire in us a greater sense of patriotism and solidarity during these trying times,” Duterte said in a video message.

The health care personnel and economic frontline workers are also regarded as modern day heroes while the nation continues to battle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his message, Duterte did not forget the “unyielding determination” of Filipinos in fighting all forms of challenges during the world wars and in the ongoing fight against the pandemic.

“I join the entire nation in commemorating Araw ng Kagitingan. This day is a firm reminder of the unyielding determination of the Filipino to prevail over all forms of adversity,” he said.

Even as the Philippines faces yet another challenge of defending its territorial waters in the South China Sea, Duterte paid tribute to the bravery of the soldiers who fought for the country’s freedom.

“Today, we honor our fallen soldiers whose sacrifice became the bedrock of our resolve to uphold our most cherished liberties,” he said. “May this awareness resonate among us as we strive to become worthy heirs to the nation that they fought and bled for.”

Communication Secretary Martin Andanar and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana echoed the President’s statement in paying tribute to the health workers.

“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we praise the hard work and commitment of our present-day heroes – medical and health care professionals, government workers and officials, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and our frontliners from the food service, transportation and other essential sectors – who display valor everyday by continuing to work to provide our needs in spite of great personal risk to them,” Andanar said.

In a separate message, Vice President Leni Robredo called on Filipinos to unite as the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Like Bataan then, we are now cloaked in darkness because of the pandemic. Many of us have sacrificed, suffered, lost loved ones. But this day is also a reminder: No Filipino needs to be heroic alone. We are together in this. Let’s help each other,” Robredo said in Filipino.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. defended Duterte as critics questioned the President’s absence at the ceremonies.

“The President’s critics are asking why President Rodrigo Duterte has no public event to commemorate Araw ng Kagitingan. Lest they forget, we are under community quarantine, where gatherings are not encouraged,” he said.?Roque added that it was just prudent for Duterte to stay away from the public scene at this time to ensure the Chief Executive’s safety.

“In addition, active cases of COVID-19 remain high and we have to ensure not only the safety of the President but also the physical well-being of the staff and the security in charge of the coordination and preparation of the presidential engagement or event,” Roque said.

Roque also debunked criticisms that Duterte’s recent photos released by his top aide and now Sen. Bong Go are altered.

“As to claims that the recent photos of President Duterte are photoshopped, those who made noise on the matter are the usual detractors of the Chief Executive who see nothing good in what he does. Let them be,” he said. – Edith Regalado, Helen Flores, Michael Punongbayan

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