Sat. Apr 17th, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday likened healthcare workers in the frontlines against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to national hero Jose Rizal, who was also a dedicated physician.

In his Rizal Day message, Duterte said he was inspired by healthcare workers for their “new expression of heroism” in the fight against an invisible enemy.

“Today, we see many ‘Rizals’ fighting for our people, this time against any unseen adversary – a pandemic. We have our brave front-liners who continue to serve the nation in their unique capacities notwithstanding the risks to life and limb,” he said.

He remembered Rizal for his bravery and patriotism, describing his life as one that not only needed to be celebrated but also emulated.

“He was a loving son, a good student, a dedicated physician, a passionate writer, and most especially a defender of our right to self-determination,” he said.

Duterte also cited Rizal’s “great aspirations” for the country and for using “the power of the pen” to convey sentiments against oppression and yearnings for emancipation.

“It ignited a strong sense of nationalism and revolution, he was successful. He was our hero,” he said.

Duterte, meanwhile, expressed hope that Filipinos would express love and respect for the nation and follow the examples of Rizal and other modern-day heroes.

In a separate statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar described Rizal as a “beacon of hope, unity, patriotism, valor, and service to the country.”

“May Dr. Rizal’s legacy continue to burn within the hearts of every Filipino, especially now as we face the challenges brought by social ills, natural disasters, and the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

He also remembered Rizal for dedicating his life not just to writing novels that influence consciousness and national identity, but also his work as a physician and a philanthropist, in service to his fellowmen.“May we remain inspired by and continue to embody the values and principles that defined Dr. Jose Rizal – his love for our country, compassion for others, and intellectual prowess – as we collectively heal, recover, and rise as one nation,” he said. SOVEREIGNPH

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