While giving honor to the courage of war heroes and veterans on the 76th Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) on Monday, and the Philippine Veterans’ Week, senators have called on Filipinos to remain valiant in defending the country from all forms of threats, and to live out the same bravery of the county’s forefathers.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III urged Filipinos to honor the gallantry of war heroes and veterans through their own efforts to improve quality of life for all Filipinos.
“Filipinos never failed to respond to the call of duty when their country needed them. And this is a time when the country needs all its citizens, not to fight in trenches, but to make the Philippines better for Filipinos,” Pimentel said in a statement.
“It’s time to aim our sights higher. We are no longer locked in a struggle for survival, but a struggle for better lives,” he also said.
Pimentel pointed out that what used to be a threat of foreign invasion has now transformed into threats against the empowerment of Filipinos posed by unequal development of regions, rising gap between the rich and the poor, and widespread corruption.
He said Filipinos “must continue to be valiant in defending our country from all forms of threats; not just from foreign invasions, but also from threats found within our own nation.”
Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, gave tribute go the soldiers in Marawi City, the Special Action Force (SAF) 44, peacekeepers, crime fighters, and ordinary civilians who guard their communities, and “have proven the genuine courage of the Filipinos.”
“History calls upon us to live out the same courage and bravery of our forefathers by doing our duties as channels of peace, builders of society, movers of economy and generators of ideas,” she said.
For Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, while heroes remain icons of courage, “every Filipino who offers blood, tears and sweat, strength, joy, and taxes, is brave.”
“All Filipinos who fight against oppression and right the wrong are valiant. The killing of drug suspects is wrong, the imprisonment of Sen. Leila de Lima is wrong, misogyny is wrong, giving away Philippine islands is wrong, having zero NFA (National Food Authority) rice stocks is wrong, and many more,” he said in a statement.
Detained Senator Leila de Lima echoed Pangilinan’s message saying: “Nasusukat ang kagitingan hindi lamang sa tapang, at lalong-lalo na, hindi sa yabang.”
“Maipapamalas ito sa paninindigan at pakikipaglaban para sa tama at makatwiran, at sa pagmamalasakit sa kapwa at bansa,” she said in a statement. ”Balewala ang paulit-ulit na retorika tungkol sa pagmamahal sa bayan, kung inuudyukan naman ang pagpatay sa libo-libong Pilipino, lalo na ang mga inosente at walang kalaban-laban. Walang pagka-makabayan sa pagsuko sa dangal at teritoryo ng Pilipinas sa ibang bansa,” she added.
Senator Joel Villanueva has likewise called on the public to “not forget the sacrifices of our fellow Filipinos and make it as an inspiration for all of us.”
On April 9, 1942, more than 78,000 Filipino and American troops surrendered to the Japanese invaders, and were forced to march from Bataan to Tarlac with almost 10, 000 Filipino soldiers perishing in the process.
In 1961, Congress passed Republic Act No. 3022, proclaiming April 9 as Bataan Day and a regular holiday.
In 1987, the holiday was renamed Araw ng Kagitingan.