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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Senators remind Filipinos of past and present struggles in Independence Day messages

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As the Philippines marks its 126th Independence Day, senators shared warm messages reflecting on the nation’s storied past and the ongoing challenges it faces. Most of them could not help but make a reference on the rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Escudero: Unity and progress

Senate President Francis Escudero took to social media to greet Filipinos on this holiday with a message of hope and unity. Reflecting on this year’s theme, “Freedom. The Future. History,” Escudero emphasized the importance of remembering the sacrifices of the nation’s heroes.

“The freedom we enjoy today is the result of their courage,” he noted. The seasoned politician out of Sorsogon urged Filipinos to carry the spirit of freedom in their hearts as a guide for progress and transformation. “Long live the Philippines! Long live the Filipino people!”

Estrada: Defending sovereignty

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada highlighted the collective efforts needed to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty. While Estrada did not go into specifics, his remarks alluded to the Philippines’ ongoing territorial disputes with China in the WPS or South China Sea.

In his message delivered in Tagalog, Estrada stressed that the true spirt of freedom is best expressed in our readiness to fight for our sovereignty whenever it is challenged.

“The compassion we have for each other is our strongest weapon against foreign forces, who want to change our territory and weaken our sovereignty,” Estrada said.

Villanueva: Resisting aggression

Senator Joel Villanueva echoed the sentiments of vigilance and resilience. He called on Filipinos to stand firm in defense of their freedom, just as their forefathers did, amid ongoing Chinese aggression in the WPS.

Villanueva praised the unity of Filipinos despite these challenges, saying, “Our love for our country is very much alive.” He also emphasized the broader struggle for freedom from joblessness, hunger, poverty, and loss of hope.

Hontiveros: Protect national interests

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros made an impassioned plea for Filipinos to unite and rise up to protect our national interests, noting that “our freedom is being tested,” considering the relentless expansionist claims of China in the WPS.

“China continues to encroach in the West Philippine Sea. Their harassment of our fishermen, Coast Guard and Navy has been persistent. They (Filipinos) are risking their lives and safety every time they sail, when they are supposed to cruise peacefully in our waters,” Hontiveros stated in Tagalog.

She encouraged the public to keep fighting for our territorial rights and resist any attempt of stealing natural resources from areas within our exclusive economic zone. Hontiveros also reiterated that Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) remains a threat to national security.

“POGOs should be banned in the Philippines. Let us keep fighting those forces that want to hinder our progress. No one is going to stand up for these issues but us Filipinos,” Hontiveros said. She also hoped for many Filipinos to be freed not only from invaders, but poverty as well.

Revilla: Honoring History

Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr. underscored the importance of remembering the nation’s historical struggles. The actor-politician led wreath-laying and flag-raising ceremonies at the Dambana ni Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite, where he also delivered his Independence Day remarks.

Revilla highlighted the significance of celebrating the holiday in Kawit, where Aguinaldo proclaimed independence from Spanish rule in 1898. A native of Cavite, the senator reminded Filipinos of the ongoing pursuit to protect and uphold the nation’s sovereignty.

Padilla: Action and discipline

Senator Robinhood Padilla highlighted the importance of action and discipline, values embodied by the 48 new Navy reservists recently trained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

He also emphasized that true freedom for the Philippines extends beyond liberation from foreign rule—it includes the ongoing battle against poverty.

Padilla noted that although the Philippines has achieved political independence, economic liberation remains elusive. He expressed hope that the nation will one day overcome poverty through collective effort and discipline.

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