TRIBUTE TO MODERN-DAY HEROES. Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go delivers his speech during the Philippine quincentennial commemoration of the 'Victory of Mactan' on Tuesday (April 28, 2021). Go paid tribute to the modern-day heroes who continue to fight for the welfare and well-being of Filipinos amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of OPAV)

CEBU CITY – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday paid tribute to the modern-day heroes who continue to fight for the welfare and well-being of Filipinos amid the pandemic.

During the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Victory of Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City, Go, in his speech, underscored the importance of examining one’s past to gain an understanding of the present and the boldness to face one’s future.

He especially welcomed the opportunity to recognize the bravery and sacrifices of the Visayan people who helped shape the country into being what it is today.

“Isang karangalan para sa akin na makasama sa ating komemorasyon ng ika-limangdaang Anibersaryo ng labanan sa Mactan… Mahalaga na tayo ay magbalik-tanaw sa ating kasaysayan, ngunit mahalaga rin na may pagtutuwid tayo sa nakaraan — upang maunawaan natin ang kasalukuyan at lakas-loob nating harapin ang ating kinabukasan (It’s an honor for me to be with you in commemorating the quincentennial of the Battle of Mactan… It’s important to know our history, but it’s equally important that we are able to straighten the past – in order to understand the present, and be courageous in facing our future),” Go said.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte puts high value on the heroism of the Visayans who fought against the Spaniards.

“Kami ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte ay mga Mindanaoan, kami rin ay mga Bisaya. Mayroon din tayong dapat ipagmalaki … Kaya hindi kataka-taka na ang minamahal nating Pangulong Duterte, ay taus-puso ang pagkilala kay Lapu-Lapu, dahil hindi rin ninanais ng ating mahal na Pangulo na patuloy tayong maaapi sa hindi pagkilala sa kabayanihan ng buong Kabisayaan (President Duterte and I are both from Mindanao, we are also Visayans. We also have something to be proud of… That’s why our beloved President Duterte has whole-heartedly recognized Lapu-Lapu, because he does not want us to be oppressed by not recognizing the heroism of the entire Visayas),” he added.

Go called on Filipinos to remember today’s heroes on the front lines who are continuing this legacy by laying down their lives to save the lives of others and for the betterment of the nation.

The senator praised the efforts of the Duterte administration in recognizing these contributions through the establishment of the Order of Lapu-Lapu award under Executive Order No. 17 series of 2017.

The Order, which was created following the Siege of Marawi City, is awarded to men and women in government and civil society whose acts of valor and kindness may be described as extraordinary acts of service and exceptional contributions to the country.

Four medals are given under the Order of Lapu-Lapu: (1) Magalong — conferred to men and women who have rendered extraordinary service or made exceptional contributions to a campaign or advocacy of the President; (2) Kalasag — granted to those who lost their lives in the service of the country; (3) Kampilan — given to those who suffered injuries or loss of property; and (4) Kamagi — awarded to any person who contributed to the success of an activity pursuant to the campaign or advocacy of the administration.

Go said in peace time, the Filipinos should not forget the heroes who sacrificed their lives for altruistic concern, adding that being a lawmaker, it made him happy that heroes are given ample recognition.

“Karapat-dapat lang na i-angat natin ang katayuan ni Lapu-Lapu at ng mga taga-Mactan sa ating kasaysayan —bukod sa siya ang pinaka-unang naging bayani ng ating bansa, siya rin ang pinaka-unang nakipaglaban para mapanatili ang kalayaan at pamumuhay nating mga Pilipino (It’s but proper to raise the stature of Lapu-Lapu and the people of Mactan in the annals of history – apart from being the first  hero of our country, he is the first to fight to ensure independence and our lives as Filipinos),” he said.

He appealed for unity, cooperation and compassion at a time when society has been upended by a deadly global pandemic.

The commemoration of the Philippine quincentennial, he said, is also a reminder for the people, especially the youth, that in unity and cooperation, there is no enemy that cannot be toppled.

“Gaya na lang ng laban natin sa pandemyang Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Magtulungan lang tayo, magbayanihan at magmalasakit tayo sa ating kapwa (Just like in our fight,” said the senator. Let’s help one another, let’s do “bayanihan” and have compassion with our fellow citizens),” he added.

Go prodded the people to make the bravery of Lapu-Lapu and their ancestors an inspiration to become united in surpassing the challenges.

The ceremony held at the Mactan Shrine was attended by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas Sanchez.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairperson Rene Escalante, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan were also in attendance, as well as a number of other government officials and diplomats who were properly seated in observance of social distancing and other government-issued protocols against Covid-19. (PNA)