Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (File photo)

MANILA – As the Philippines celebrates its 124th Independence Day, outgoing Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called on all Filipinos to cooperate with the country's new leaders for a better future.

"In this period of transition, may we continue to work together with our new set of leaders to realize the hopes and dreams of our forefathers for our nation," he said in a statement Sunday.

Lorenzana, borrowing a quote from Elias, a major character in Dr. Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere, also said those who are blessed to experience freedom should not fail to remember those who have fought and fallen for it.

"In Dr. Jose Rizal’s seminal work, Noli me Tangere, the character Elias said, 'I die without seeing the dawn brighten over my native land! You, who have it to see, welcome it—and forget not those who have fallen during the night!'," he added.

Lorenzana also reminded the public that the "gift of independence bequeathed to us by our forefathers was wrought in their immeasurable sacrifice and unflagging hope for the future of the country."

"As we look back at the road that led us to the freedom and democracy we enjoy today, we also set our sights on the work that remains to be done to achieve the brighter future our heroes dreamed for us," he added.

In line with this year’s Independence Day celebration theme, “Kalayaan 2022: Pagsuong sa Hamon ng Panibagong Bukas (Rise Towards the Challenge of a New Beginning)", Lorenzana also called on all Filipinos to embrace the changes coming in their way.

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is set to take his oath as the country’s 17th chief executive on June 30 at the historical National Museum after his overwhelming victory in the May 9 presidential race.

Marcos, son of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, will replace outgoing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Serve people well

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. called on all police officers to continue serving the Filipino people well as the police force joined the nation in celebrating Independence Day.

"Ipinamalas natin sa ating mga kababayan ang kadakilaan ng mga pulis bilang mga front-liners at tagapangalaga ng seguridad at kapayapaan (Let us continue to show to our countrymen the greatness of police officers as front-liners and keepers of the peace)," he added.

Danao called on all police personnel to continue providing efficiency and exemplary service.

‘Ang kagitingan at kadakilaan na ating ipinapakita sa araw-araw nating paglilingkod sa taumbayan na nagdadala ng karangalan sa ating ahensya, ay hindi kailanman matutumbasan ng anumang materyal na bagay. Ang pagtitiwala at pagpapasalamat ng taumbayan sa kanilang pambansang kapulisan ang ating pinaka malaking tagumpay (The bravery and greatness that we show everyday serving our countrymen will bring honor to our agency which cannot be matched by any material thing. The trust and appreciation of our countrymen in their PNP is our biggest honor ever)," he added. (with reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)