President Rodrigo Roa Duterte sings the Philippine National Anthem during the 121st Philippine Independence Day celebration at the 6th Infantry Battalion Grounds in Malabang, Lanao del Sur on June 12, 2019. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MALABANG, Lanao del Sur—Leading the commemoration of the 121st anniversary of Philippine independence here, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte likened the “modern problems” that the country faces today to colonialism that the country’s heroes fought during their time.

Delivering his Independence Day speech at the 6th Infantry Battalion Headquarters, the President rallied the nation to pay tribute to the country’s patriots, both past and present, by safeguarding the democratic institutions built from the rubble of the wars that gave rise to Philippine heroes.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte leads the wreath-laying ceremony at the bust of Dr. Jose Rizal as part of the 121st Philippine Independence Day celebration at the 6th Infantry Battalion Grounds in Malabang, Lanao del Sur on June 12, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“And while the noble heroes of our past faced the might of colonial powers, this time, we face the modern problems of poverty, corruption, environmental degradation, terrorism, criminality, and illegal drugs,” he said in his message.

“These threats, just like the threats our nation faced centuries ago, have infringed on our inalienable right to live peaceful, safe, comfortable, and meaningful lives.”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte pays his respects to the monument of Jose Abad Santos on the sidelines of the 121st Philippine Independence Day celebration at the 6th Infantry Battalion Grounds in Malabang, Lanao del Sur on June 12, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The President acknowledged that the country is at a crucial juncture in its history, stressing the need to learn from the lessons of the past to ensure that these threats do not cause harm to the present and future generations of Filipinos.

“Let us all work together so we may preserve this gift of liberty that all our children deserve to inherit,” he said.

He praised the soldiers from Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion, also known as the “Redskin Battalion,” for their bravery in fighting the Dawiah Islamiyah, the Maute Group, and other lawless elements that continue to threaten the region.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 121st Philippine Independence Day celebration at the 6th Infantry Battalion Grounds in Malabang, Lanao del Sur on June 12, 2019. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank the brave men and women of the Redskin Battalion for your bravery, selflessness, service, and unconditional love of country. Your valor has indeed earned you a place among the valiant heroes who built this nation 121 years ago,” he told the soldiers.

And as part of the formal commemoration Wednesday, the President led the wreath-laying rites on Dr. Jose Rizal’s monument to remember his patriotism.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte raises his fist while delivering a speech during the 121st Philippine Independence Day celebration at the 6th Infantry Battalion Grounds in Malabang, Lanao del Sur on June 12, 2019. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Duterte also recognized the members of the armed forces who neutralized ISIS-Maute leader Owayda Abdul Najid B. Marohombsar alias Abu Dar in Lanao del Sur in March this year. They were awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Rank of Kamagi.

Among the recipients of the Order of Lapu-Lapu were Col. Romeo A. Brawner Jr., Col. Jose Maria R. Cuerpo II, LTC Ian Noel P. Ignes, LTC Edgar Allan S. Villanueva, Cpt. Jay S. Duma-og, and Cpt. Brenn S. Fabros (represented by LTC Jake Jumawan).

The Commander-In-Chief also led the donning of rank to Maj. Gen. Roberto T. Ancan, the commander of the 1st Infantry Division.

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

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