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Palace lauds COVID-19 frontliners, likens them to Jose Rizal

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos 

Malacañang commended the frontliners in the fight against COVID-19 for rising up to the challenge just like how the country’s national hero Dr. Jose Rizal did more than a century ago.

The country commemorates the 159th birth anniversary of the Filipino martyr on Friday, June 19.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said June 19 reminds the Palace how Rizal stood up against conquerors despite his young age.

“This occasion reminds us of Dr. Rizal’s young life, dedicated to service, which rings a bell in these challenging times,” he said Friday morning.

“We are proud to see today modern-day heroes — our courageous frontliners — who rise up to the challenge and serve as beacons of hope to a people weary and fearful of the present global health scare,” he added.

Roque said Rizal’s life is a testament to how a single person’s deep love for his country could spark the re-awakening of the desire for freedom and change.

He asked the public to emulate Rizal’s principles and for the youth to live up to the hero’s statement that the youth is the hope of the nation.

“We ask our people, the youth in particular, whom our beloved hero referred to as the ‘hope for our future,’ to take inspiration from his life and emulate his principles to be agents of genuine transformation for a better Philippines,” Roque said.

Rizal was born on June 19, 1861, in Calamba, Laguna. His fight against the Spaniards led him to write the novels “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo.” His execution at then-Bagumbayan in Manila on December 30, 1896, further strengthened the revolution that was launched in August of that year.

Two years after his death, President Emilio Aguinaldo instituted Rizal Day on December 30. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines pushed to move Rizal Day to June 19 to enable students to participate proactively in the celebration of his life.

In 2008, the House of Representatives enacted a bill to move Rizal Day but Congress ended its session before the Senate could enact a counterpart bill.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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