By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA — The Department of National Defense (DND) is calling on all Filipinos to support the government’s move to eradicate the threat of communist terrorists in the country.
“In the spirit of nationalism, I call on every Filipino to safeguard the freedom that our ancestors fought for; the very freedom we have sworn to protect. Let us rally behind our government to end the local communist armed conflict to eradicate the flaw of a foreign ideology that has inflicted division in our Motherland for decades. We will show the world what true Filipinos are: a disciplined, patriotic race, with an ever-burning sense of duty, ready to defend our nation against threats and foes,” said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a message to reporters on Tuesday, ahead of the observance of the country’s 121st Independence Day.
The defense chief also recognized the gallantry of uniformed personnel, who continue to protect the country’s freedom and sovereignty from all forms of threats.
“We pay tribute to our soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, airwomen, reservists, and civilian volunteers who relentlessly guard our seas, lands, and air, and who tirelessly keep our communities safe,” Lorenzana said.
“As we commemorate our 121st Independence Day, may we never forget the valiant sacrifices of our defenders and our veterans, who fought and protected our nation and people,” he added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, echoed the defense chief’s remarks.
“The AFP will continue to work tirelessly and selflessly in securing our nation’s freedom and independence. The Filipino soldier is always ready and willing to make sacrifices to protect the interests of the people. For many decades, thousands of soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that citizens have a peaceful and secure environment conducive to national development,” said AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal in a statement forwarded to reporters.
In line with this, the AFP chief urged all Filipinos to continue treasuring and using their freedom to become productive members of society.
“As we continue to draw courage and inspiration from all Filipinos, we call on them to treasure our independence and use their freedom to develop themselves as productive members of our society,” he added.
Noting that security is a shared responsibility, Madrigal said the best way to repay the heroism sacrifices made by all Filipino heroes, both in the past and present day, to be responsible and active in protecting the nation’s freedom.
“We encourage every Filipino to actively participate in protecting our country and making our communities safe. Let us all take pride in our freedom not only during the celebration of our Independence but in every waking moment that we have as Filipinos,” the AFP chief emphasized.
Also, Madrigal expressed the AFP’s gratitude to every Filipino and organizations who supported them through the years.
“From discounts, free rides, and services, to donations that benefit our soldiers and their dependents; we have so much to be thankful for to the Filipino people,” he added.
This includes up to 70 percent discount on selected items in participating SM Supermalls tenants nationwide this Independence Day for all active, retired and veteran members of the AFP and other uniformed services.
“While we fully appreciate, and are thankful and inspired for these gestures of support, even without these, the AFP will continue to perform its mandate and sworn duty to protect the people and the nation,” Madrigal said.
This year’s Independence Day celebration carries the theme, “Kalayaan 2019: Tapang ng Bayan, Malasakit sa Mamamayan”. (PNA)