FRONTLINERS who are helping to combat the Covid-19 scourge were honored by local officials in Cebu during its celebration of National Heroes’ Day on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.
Early in the morning of Aug. 31, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and other officials held a simple ceremony in front of the City Hall to commemorate the bravery of Filipino heroes.
The yearly celebration marked the 120th anniversary of the Cry of Pugadlawin, which initiated the Philippine Revolution.
In his speech, Labella said aside from remembering the deeds of heroes long ago, this year’s celebration also served as a tribute to medical frontliners who have sacrificed their lives in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
Labella said: “But even as we look back, let us also look around. Heroes walk among us. They bike among us. They don scrubs as they head to our hospitals to take care of the afflicted. They put on uniforms as they head to their respective assignments to protect our community. They are armed with the tools of their trade as they work with the rest of our community to rebuild our city.”
He added: “Not all of us are called to die for our country. Most of us are asked to live for it. To protect and rebuild our community requires a different kind of bravery.”
Aside from medical frontliners, Labella also honored 107 police personnel from Eastern and Western Visayas who were sent to Cebu City to help enforce quarantine protocol.
The police officers are set to be transferred to the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod to help combat the growing number of Covid-19 cases there.
“All officers and men of Region 6 and 8, on behalf of the people of the City of Cebu, let me express my simple gratitude to all of you for being here fighting hand in hand with us with our police officers in the city and our people in the fight against this invisible enemy,” Labella said.
The send-off ceremony was held at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Separately, Police Regional Office Central Visayas director Albert Ignatius Ferro called the 107 police personnel “modern-day heroes.”
Members of various organizations also honored the modern heroes or the frontliners on Aug. 31.
They held a rally in front of the Department of Agriculture building along M.C. Briones St. in Mandaue City.
The rally was attended by the Bayan Central Visayas, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kabataan Partylist and the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston).
Tribute and calls
Angel Mediola, the group’s spokesperson, said the purpose of their activity was to honor the frontliners who are fighting against Covid-19, workers who run the economy and farmers supplying food for the people even amid the pandemic.
Piston president Greg Perez also paid tribute to the drivers who continue to transport and pick up passengers, especially the workers.
Aside from honoring the heroes, Mediola said through the rally, they wanted to get the attention of the government to provide mass testing for the people and intensify contact tracing.
They also called for an end to the increase in tuition in schools, as well as an end to liberal policies against the poor and against the people such as the jeepney modernization.
Mediola and all organizations hoped that the government will be able to respond to their calls.
During the group rally, PLtCol. Franco Rodulfo Oriol, head of the Mandaue City Police Office Traffic Group, together with other police officers, responded to the area.
Oriol explained that the rally was prohibited based on the Inter-Agency Task Force protocol, especially since there were more than 10 people who joined.
But respecting their rights, Oriol gave the group 10 minutes to express the purpose of their rally before ordering them to disperse.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes also honored the actions of modern heroes such as the frontliners who are among those struggling during the pandemic.
Also on National Heroes’ Day, officials honored not only the fallen heroes who fought for the country’s freedom but also the frontliners.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his message, said the pandemic calls for a new breed of heroism.
“The current global health crisis we are facing today demands of us a new expression of heroism—the kind that has been shown us by our selfless Filipino frontliners in various settings,” he said.
“In honor of our heroes, let us strengthen our resolve in overcoming the challenges ahead guided by the virtues and standards set by the stalwarts of our nation,” he added.
The President also honored the memory of “valiant Filipinos whose legacy has strengthened and shaped our beloved nation as we know it today.”
“I am hopeful that their courage, bravery and indomitable spirit will continue to inspire us to uphold our democratic institutions and rally against all threats to our freedom and sovereignty,” he said.
Earlier on Aug. 31, the President also gave the following message:
“I join the entire nation as we celebrate this year’s National Heroes’ Day. Today, we honor not only the valor of our forebears who fought for our motherland’s freedom, but also the heroism of those who risked their lives, fighting a different kind of enemy. Present-day challenges posed by the current public health crisis has given rise to modern-day heroes: the countless Filipino frontliners here and abroad who are battling the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“I hope that the bravery of our Filipino heroes, past and present, will inspire us all to face and overcome even the most unfavorable situations. Together, let us become everyday heroes as we pursue a better future for everyone.”
Vice President Leni Robredo honored the Filipinos who “struggled, fought, sacrificed for our nation.”
“We honor not one or a few names, but the countless others who were, or continue to be, animated by the same imperatives that drive us in times of crisis: Love those beyond your immediate circle; expand these circles to go beyond family or friends; care for the community, care for the country,” Robredo said in a statement.
She added: “Do this, despite fear and uncertainty. Fight, if necessary; do not shrink from struggle or sacrifice. Be kind and be brave.”
Robredo also praised medical frontliners and government leaders who have given their services amid the ongoing health crisis.
“The spirit of our heroes lives among medical professionals, community leaders, government workers, those from the uniformed services, volunteers and the common Filipino ready and willing to expand the reach of their compassion,” she said.
“May the courage of our heroes continue to inspire us, as we once again face difficult times,” she added.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros called on the government to prioritize protection for health workers.
She said the production and purchase of local personal protective equipment (PPE) will help local manufacturers and businesses.
She said: “Our health workers do not need to be martyrs. Even six months into this pandemic, ensuring adequate protection for them continues to be a problem. Too many doctors and nurses have died in the line of duty. We have to better ensure that every health worker in every city or province has access to effective and affordable PPE.”
The senator said it will be more practical for the country to source PPE from local manufacturers. (AYB, PAC, KFD / JKV / SunStar Philippines)
HONORING HEROES. A simple flag raising ceremony is held on National Heroes’ Day, Aug. 31, 2020, outside Cebu City Hall. In attendance are representatives of Mayor Edgardo Labella and Vice Mayor Michael Rama and City Hall employees. Labella was at the Cebu City Sports Center for the send-off of police officers from Eastern and Western Visayas. (Amper Campaña)
August 31, 2020
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