CNN Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday called on Filipinos to show the same gallantry exercised by the nation's forefathers 122 years ago as the country and the rest of the world face the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As we wage united battle against COVID-19, we now have the opportunity to demonstrate that we possess the same gallantry of spirit and the nobility of character as the heroes of our past. Let us now move forward with courage, hope, and optimism as we overcome this pandemic," he said in his Independence Day taped address.
Duterte skipped Independence Day rites at Manila's Rizal Park to avoid mass gatherings as the country continues to curb the spread of COVID-19. He is staying in his hometown of Davao City.
"I join all Filipinos in celebrating the 122nd anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine independence. 122 years ago our forefathers proudly proclaimed the birth of the Filipino nation. Today, we honor them for their bravery, heroism, and sacrifice, as well as we thank them for the gifts of democracy and freedom,” Duterte added.
Philippine National Police chief Archie Gamboa appealed to the public to refrain from staging huge gatherings, citing health protocols enforced by the country’s COVID-19 inter-agency task force. JTF COVID Shield commander PLGen Guillermo Eleazar urged protesters to consider other platforms to voice out their concerns, citing possible health risks amid the pandemic.