CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) joined the commemoration of the 124th martyrdom anniversary of National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal on Monday at Rizal Park.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is one with the whole Filipino nation in the peaceful and safe commemoration of Rizal Day. Your soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines and civilian human resources pay tribute to our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal who exemplifies our organization’s core values of honor, service, and patriotism,” AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay said in a statement.

The AFP served as military host for the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies held at the Rizal National Monument in Manila. Meanwhile, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the official representative of President Rodrigo Duterte presided over the activities.

Secretary Lorezana was joined by National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairman Rene R. Escalante, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, and Supreme Commander Sir Elihu A. Ybanez, KGCR.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the attendees were required to wear masks and face shields, and observed physical distancing. This was in adherence to the prescribed health standards/guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

In line with this year’s theme; “Jose Rizal: Inspirasyon sa Pagbangon at Paghilom ng Bayan”, General Gapay urged the public to draw inspiration from the national hero’s devotion and service to the country.

“The AFP wishes that Dr. Jose Rizal’s martyrdom will continue to motivate our people to better serve our country. The preservation of the state is an obligation of every citizen, especially now that we are in this challenging time of a pandemic,” General Gapay said.

He added that Rizal’s noble acts to push forward patriotism, as well as his tireless efforts for continuous development remain as premier attributes that the military emulate.

“We hope that each and every Filipino will draw strength and determination from what Dr. Rizal has fought for and accomplished to pave way for our nation’s independence and achieve lasting peace and security,” he said./// (Photo by: Cpl Joel Manzano PA/PAOAFP)