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On National Heroes Day, Duterte honors frontliners; Robredo says every Filipino can be a hero

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On National Heroes Day, Duterte honors frontliners; Robredo says every Filipino can be a hero
COVID-19 patients pictured inside the chapel of Quezon City General Hospital on Aug. 19, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — On National Heroes’ Day, President Rodrigo Duterte paid tribute to a “new breed of heroes” that stand ready in the country’s fight against the pandemic.

“These past two years, we have witnessed the indomitable spirit of these nameless health workers, uniformed personnel, government employees, and frontliners in essential industries who — hiding in anonymity — bravely led our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the president said.

Duterte said the names of this “new breed of heroes” may not be etched on edifices nor statues will be built for them, “yet, for selflessly risking their lives to ensure the survival of our society, I can confidently say that they have more than earned their rightful place in the pedestal of heroes.”

“This year, let us consecrate this day not just as memorial to their extraordinary heroism, but as an enduring testament to our inherent capacity to rise above self-interest to fight for a cause far greater than our own,” Duterte added.

In August, millions in Metro Manila were again forced to the confines of their own homes as the government placed the National Capital Region in the strictest form of lockdown amid the fast rising COVID-19 infections and the threat of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant. Hospitals have also been reporting that they reached full capacity in their COVID wards.

News5 reported that on National Heroes Day, health workers from at least ten hospitals will stage protests to call for the release of their benefits and long overdue special risk allowance.

‘Every Filipino is a hero’

Vice President Leni Robredo in her message said National Heroes’ Day reminds us that “heroism can be found beyond the gallows or the battlefield.”

She honored Filipinos who lay down their lives for the country, and said that while our history books may not reflect their names or origins, “their dreams and hard work live in us: A country that is safer, freer and more humane.”

Robredo said that in times of crisis, every Filipino is called a hero. “In this time, heroism is serving in the medical profession, in taking vaccines, in following health protocols, in sharing the truth and resisting lies, and in helping to the best of your capacity those in need,” she continued in Filipino.

The vice president said the potential to become a hero resides inside all of us, a heritage passed on by our fellow Filipinos who came before us and shared their good examples.

“In our homes, in schools, in offices, in our communities, we are called heroes—in every chance, in our own ways. Our history bears witness: We are a race of heroes,” she added. — Kristine Joy Patag

LENI ROBREDO

NATIONAL HEROES DAY

RODRIGO DUTERTE

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