MANILA, Philippines — Paying tribute to heroes who fought for Philippine independence, President Marcos yesterday vowed not to shirk from his duty to protect the country’s territory, reminding Filipinos that they may lose their freedom if they do not defend it.

Speaking during the Independence Day parade in Manila, Marcos urged Filipinos to continue what their forebears started and to stand up for their rights as a free nation.

“Our ancestors did not retreat from the fight, so we must not turn our backs on our duty to fight for our domain,” the President said.

“Let us show the world that true power is measured not by might or by wealth but by the true meaning and reason behind what we are fighting for – the love for the country and the immeasurable unity of our people,” he added.

Marcos said Filipinos do not just look back at the past, but relive it as they strive to attain a more independent future.

“Mananatili tayong matatag at hindi tayo matitinag (We will remain steadfast and we will not falter),” he said.

Marcos also reminded the youth that their forebears sacrificed to achieve the peace and freedom they are enjoying.

He lamented that many young people do not know GomBurZa, the collective term for three Filipino priests whose martyrdom sparked nationalism during the Spanish colonial rule.

“Freedom is nurtured, secured and defended. Once we neglect it, we may lose it or it may be taken away from us,” the Chief Executive said.

In a separate video message, Marcos said he is honored to be Filipino, whose ancestors bravely fought to restore the country’s peace and independence.

“As inheritors of this freedom, it is the duty of each one of us to protect it and ensure that we will not be cowed by intimidation, incursion and oppression,” Marcos said in Filipino.

“As we face the challenges of the modern age, may we fortify not only our courage, but also our unity and cooperation,” he said.

Marcos said the freedom parade symbolized the challenge for Filipinos to continuously fight for freedom and to imbibe the spirit of heroism and hope.

A total of 22 floats depicting key historic events were displayed during the parade, which was also attended by First Lady Liza Marcos and Cabinet officials.

A fireworks display and a concert by P-pop girl group Bini capped the program.

Marcos mouths ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ song

Amid criticisms over his order to incorporate the Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines) song and pledge in flag ceremonies, President Marcos and his officials were put to the test on whether they have memorized the song and oath during Independence Day rites in Manila yesterday.

Videos from state-run Radio Television Malacañang showed Marcos mouthing parts of the hymn and pledge as an audio recording played in the background. However, some critical netizens pointed out that many of his Cabinet officials did not sing along nor recite the pledge.

The singing and recital of the Bagong Pilipinas song and pledge were contained in Marcos’ Memorandum Circular No. 52, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on June 4.

The memo directed all national government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations and educational institutions, to integrate the recital of the Bagong Pilipinas song and pledge in the conduct of weekly flag ceremonies.

“The move aims to instill the principles of Bagong Pilipinas among government workers,” according to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), which announced the new memorandum over the weekend.

The Marcos administration launched Bagong Pilipinas as its brand of governance and leadership.

Some senators, including Senate President Francis Escudero and Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III, earlier stressed the need for the Flag and Heraldic Code to be amended if the Bagong Pilipinas hymn and pledge will formally become part of all events in the country.

Bagong Pilipinas bears a resemblance to the Bagong Lipunan (New Society) vision of Marcos’ late father, former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Human rights advocates view the song as propaganda that reminds them of the abusive practices during martial law.


In Malolos, Bulacan, Speaker Martin Romualdez reminded Filipinos that freedom and independence carry the responsibility of also fighting for a just society.

“Today, we are not just commemorating the heroism of our forefathers, but we are also taking up the challenge that they left behind. Freedom is not just a privilege but more of a responsibility,” he said at the historic Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, where the first democratic republic in Asia was born.

“Being Filipinos, now in a digital and globalized era, it is our duty to continue what our heroes have fought for – our long-deserved freedom, not just against colonizers, but also the fight against poverty, corruption and injustice,” Romualdez declared.

He noted that the historic church is witness to the founding of the 1898 Congress, which held its first session there and where the Malolos Constitution was written.

‘Freedom is earned’

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo highlighted how freedom is earned and that sacrifices have been made to achieve and maintain it, as he led the Independence Day rites at the Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan.

The shrine commemorates the 1896 Battle of Pinaglabanan, which was part of Andres Bonifacio’s military campaign during the Philippine Revolution.

“In this occasion, we reflect on freedom, the future and history. One of the most valuable lessons we can learn from our heroes in Pinaglabanan – that freedom is not easily attained and maintained. We need to work for it. We need to sacrifice for it if needed,” he said.

Senators also urged Filipinos to look at the sacrifices of heroes as inspiration to continue working hard for a better tomorrow.

“The freedom we enjoy today is the result of the sacrifices and courage of our heroes. May this serve as an inspiration to us to continue working hard for a better tomorrow,” Senate President Francis Escudero said.

“In the midst of China’s bullying and forced seizure of our territories in the West Philippine Sea, we hope that similar to what our ancestors did before, we will also stand up now for our independence,” Sen. Joel Villanueva said.

Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. led the 126th year of the Philippine Independence celebration at the shrine of president Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite.

Sen. Grace Poe said that independence has never been challenged the way it is being tested now. – Helen Flores, Delon Porcalla, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Emmanuel Tupas, Evelyn Macairan, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Elizabeth Marcelo, Daphne Galvez

2024-06-12T16:45:01Z dg43tfdfdgfd