CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Mayor Edwin Santiago on Thursday said that the true spirit of independence is being liberated from poverty.

During the city's commemoration of the 116th Independence Day at Heroes Hall, Santiago underscored that in modern times, the "spirit of independence" can be measured through social economic status.

"Sa panahon ngayon, hindi ka malaya kung ikaw ay nahihirapan kaya naman kasabay ng pagpapahalaga natin sa ating kalayaan ay ang mga programa at proyekto para sa ating mga mamamayan," he said.

Santiago added that it is the very reason why livelihood, employment and education are on top of his agenda.

Santiago also stressed the importance of remembering the sacrifices of heroes, saying, "It is our duty to protect their gift of freedom to us". And at the same time encouraged the youth sector to "emulate the lives of our forefathers and keep the spirit of nationalism alive."

For his part, Alex Lacson, a Filipino lawyer, author, lecturer, philanthropist, politician and author of "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country," remarked that "good governance is reflected through private sector’s participation in government endeavors which is very evident in San Fernando." (Marionne Cayanan)