PBBM: Heroism lies in Filipinos’ sacrifices, patriotism

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said heroism in this modern day lies in the sacrifices made by Filipinos and their deeds that uphold patriotism.

In his message during the 81st Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), Marcos highlighted that the people still have within them the character of heroism that their forebears have displayed in defending the country.

“We see it [heroism] in our veterans—some of whom are here with us today. They have passed on to us this shining legacy, this treasure, for us to burnish. We see it in the eyes of every child who looks to the future with hope and eager anticipation. The answer lies in every Filipino who toils and sacrifices to feed their families, help their communities, and serve their country,” he said.

Each individual may show the inner heroes in them by upholding the spirit of patriotism through acts of valor and of sacrifice for the people, country, and freedom.

With this, Marcos urged every Filipino to stay true to the tradition of bravery and great courage demonstrated throughout the country’s history.

“It is today that the spirit of heroism is once again asked of us by our country. Perhaps not in the grand acts displayed on the field of battle, but in the everyday challenges that we must face to defend ourselves, to defend our people, to defend our country,” he pressed.

The Chief Executive stated that an example of Filipino nobility of spirit was once again demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic where citizens willingly put themselves in peril in the service of others.

Marcos emphasized that these suggest that the Philippines can look to the future with confidence, girded with the knowledge that the most noble Filipino quality of heroism is aflame and burns brightly in every true Filipino.

“For that we thank our heroes—those who fought, and bled, and died here [Mount Samat], for they have shown us the way, not necessarily an easy way, to make us the best citizens of our republic. So let us tread that path together, united by our faith in God and our love of country,” he furthered.

Araw ng Kagitingan is commemorated every April 9 to mark the defeat of the Philippine and American forces in the hold out on Bataan by the Japanese forces on the same date in 1942. 

This defeat was one of the humiliating episodes for both Philippine and American history, as it also marked the beginning of the Japanese enforced march of surviving Filipino and American soldiers from Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac, on foot, in what would be called in history as the Bataan Death March. 

Initially called the “Fall of Bataan,” the event was commemorated on the said day as a solemn state observance even during the Japanese occupation. 

It became a rallying call for those in the Filipino guerrilla/underground resistance movement and the Commonwealth government- in-exile to “Avenge Bataan” during the Japanese occupation. 

After the war, April 9 would be invoked in speeches addressing invited war veterans and the nation. 

With the inauguration of the Dambana ng Kagitingan or the Mount Samat National Shrine in 1970, state commemoration of Bataan Day has been held there annually ever since. 

In 1987, by virtue of Executive Order No. 203, President Corazon Aquino renamed Bataan Day to “Araw ng Kagitingan” and changed it from a legal holiday to a regular holiday. 

Due to the principle of “holiday economics” implemented by President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo in 2007, Araw ng Kagitingan would be observed either on the actual date or on the nearest Monday of the actual date. 

In 2011, President Benigno Aquino III reverted the state observance to the former practice. 

Under the Marcos Jr. administration, holiday economics is once again implemented, via Proclamation No. 90, s. 2022, thus moving the 2023 Araw ng Kagitingan commemoration to April 10, as April 9 falls on Easter Sunday. 

This year’s observance, the first under the Marcos Jr. administration, carries the theme “Kagitingan ng mga Beterano, Pundasyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino.”

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