Officials underscore freedom from poverty on 121st Independence Day

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AS THE Philippines celebrated its 121st Independence Day on June 12, which marks the end of Spanish colonial rule, the country’s officials highlighted the continuing work needed to achieve freedom from poverty and social equality. In his message, President Rodrigo R. Duterte asked the public to commit themselves to the dream of Filipino heroes and martyrs of a “truly independent” Philippines. “Let us commit ourselves to ensure that their sacrifices have not been in vain and that their dream of a truly independent Philippines — whose people live freely in a secure, stable and prosperous society — will be achieved within our lifetimes,” said Mr. Duterte, who commemorated the day at a military camp in Lanao del Sur. For her part, Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, who led the ceremonies at the Rizal Park in the capital, said public servants and all Filipinos to this day have the responsibility to fight for and build a country where each citizen has an equal opportunity to be part of development. “…na lahat ay kabahagi at walang maiiwan. Na lahat ay may pantay-pantay na oportunidad sa pag-unlad,” she said in her speech in Filipino. Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who attended the Rizal Park event, tweeted: “As we mark the 121st anniversary of our nation’s independence, may we continue to work as one in instituting game-changing and transformative reforms that will make every Filipino free from the worst form of oppression, which is poverty. There is much to celebrate in terms of our economic gains that we have accomplished so far, but much more needs to be done to fully realize our goal of achieving a decent, comfortable, and healthy life for every law-abiding Filipino.” — with a report from Arjay L. Balinbin