DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 June) – The city celebrated the country’s 122 Independence Day anniversary amid the pandemic without the “traditional flair and grandiosity” and with Mayor Sara Duterte urging Dabawenyos to honor the sacrifices of the heroes.
“Let us continue to cherish their bravery and sacrifices by showing the world that we can overcome the challenges that are threatening us today as Dabawenyos, as Filipinos, if we dare, if we commit, if we stand together,” Duterte said in a statement released on Friday.
The mayor led the commemoration on Friday morning with a few people in attendance, including Davao prelate Fr. Emmanuel Gonzaga, parish priest of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Obrero, city police director Col Kirby John Kraft and Task Force Davao commander Col Consolito Yecla, as the city prohibits mass gatherings of more than 10 people to maintain physical distancing.
But Duterte said the commemoration was more meaningful and heartfelt, noting the Filipinos collectively aspire to keep the spirit and the sacrifices of brave martyrs alive.
She said this year’s theme “Kalayaan 2020: Tungo sa Bansang Malaya, Nagbabayanihan, at Ligtas” (Towards a Free, United, and Safe Nation) resonated “with all of us because of our present condition, our present fight, our present war, our present daily struggles, our priorities, and how we see our future as a nation.”
“Around us, we see the gloom and despair. These days the challenge is for us to overcome the crisis brought by a deadly virus that has brought us fear, deaths, and an unimaginable blow on our lives and our future,” she added.
She said the Filipinos have remained undaunted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that they are a race of people with a long history underlined by the heroes’ bravery, strength, and determination to be free.
She said the Filipinos can rise above the challenges posed by the pandemic because “our history has taught us that there is nothing that can defeat us and dampen our soul as a people.”
“Our history has also taught us that we rise when we are united and we win when we fight together. We have inherited the soul of our martyrs. And this is our national weapon,” she said.
The Philippines declared independence from Spain on 12 June 1898. But the United States took over as the new colonial power after the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris where Spain ceded the archipelago for US$20 million.
The US ruled the country until July 1945, interrupted only by a short-lived Japanese occupation during World War II. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)