The AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert I Gapay led the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in commemoration of the National Heroes Day, August 31.

The National Heroes Day celebration was also attended by Dr. Rene R. Escalante, Chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Mayor Lino Cayetano of the City of Taguig, and Undersecretary Ernesto G. Carolina, Administrator, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.

Recalling the sacrifices of the nation's heroes, Lt. Gen. Gapay dedicated the celebration to modern day heroes fighting the pandemic in the frontlines.

“To the heroes of our time – medical practitioners, law enforcers, government employees, and everyone who continues to perform their duties despite the threats posed by COVID-19, thank you for your hard work and sacrifices. Our whole nation is profoundly grateful to all of you for giving the Filipino people a fighting chance and a glimmer of hope against this pandemic,” Lt. Gen. Gapay said in a statement.

In an interview with the media, Lt. Gen. Gapay said that the celebration of the National Heroes Day is a reminder of all the sacrifices and heroism of those who fought for our independence. “We want to instil this to the minds of the Filipinos, particularly the youth. This is also to honor and give thanks to the modern day heroes,” he said.

The nation is facing an unforeseen enemy in COVID – 19 pandemic and has put a lot of people in the frontlines. Many Filipinos inevitably continue to sacrifice their lives for the sake of duty.

Lt. Gen. Gapay in his statement believes that there is a hero in all of us, he said “Heroism knows no bounds and manifests in different ways. It does not matter whether one is a uniformed personnel, a public servant, or an ordinary citizen - specks of heroism are innate in all of us, urging us to perform everyday acts of valor.”

He then encourages everyone to exude heroism especially in these trying times, “Indeed, what makes exceptional men and women true heroes is their commitment – a burning desire to serve. True heroes emerge when our nation needs them most.”

As the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Lt. Gen. Gapay calls for unity to uphold the principles of honor and justice so that the sacrifices of the heroes who came before us will not be in vain. “That we, living in challenging times, still have the spirit of heroism alive and well within us,” Lt. Gen. Gapay said in closing. (Photos by TSg Randulf Obinque PAF/PAOAFP)