The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) joined the observance of Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s 124th martyrdom anniversary in Rizal Park on Monday.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is one with the whole Filipino nation in the peaceful and safe commemoration of Rizal Day. Your soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, and civilian human resources pay tribute to our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, who exemplifies our organization’s core values of honor, service, and patriotism,” AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay said in a statement.
The AFP served as the military host for the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at Manila’s Rizal National Monument. Meanwhile, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, President Rodrigo Duterte’s official representative, presided over the events.
Lorenzana was accompanied by Chairman Rene R. Escalante of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, and Supreme Commander Sir Elihu A. Ybanez, KGCR.
The attendees were compelled to wear masks and face shields due of the continuing COVID-19 epidemic, and physical distancing was observed. This was done in accordance with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ health standards and guidelines.
Gapay urged the public to be inspired by the national hero’s devotion and service to the country, which is this year’s theme, “Jose Rizal: Inspirasyon sa Pagbangon at Paghilom ng Bayan.”
“The AFP wishes that Dr. Jose Rizal’s martyrdom will continue to motivate our people to better serve our country. The preservation of the state is an obligation of every citizen, especially now that we are in this challenging time of a pandemic,” Gapay said.
He went on to say that Rizal’s honorable activities to promote patriotism, as well as his persistent efforts for continual progress, are qualities that the military strives to emulate.
“We hope that each and every Filipino will draw strength and determination from what Dr. Rizal has fought for and accomplished to pave way for our nation’s independence and achieve lasting peace and security,” he said.