PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday paid tribute to his “idol” Lapu-Lapu and the country’s frontliners battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic as the Philippines marked 500 years since the datu’s defeat of Spanish colonial threat.
In his pre-recorded message during the celebration of the 500th anniversary or quincentennial of the victory of Lapu-Lapu in the Battle of Mactan on Tuesday, Duterte said health and essential frontliners during the pandemic were “worthy heirs of Lapu-Lapu’s legacy.”
“Five centuries ago, Lapu-Lapu and the brave warriors of Mactan fearlessly fought of foreign invaders who threatened their cherished way of life. They never cowered against the might of the enemy and they bled in defense of their homeland,” Duterte said.
“Today, we remember their gallantry by honoring the worthy heirs of Lapu-Lapu’s legacy. Our medical and essential frontliners who in face of danger caused by Covid-19 pandemic continue to risk their lives, their own lives to ensure for the safety of their fellow Filipinos,” he added.
The President also urged Filipinos to emulate Lapu-Lapu and other heroes of the nation in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
“Let us draw inspiration from the heroes of the past and present as we overcome pandemic and rebuild a stronger and more resilient nation,” Duterte said.
“I wish everyone a meaningful commemoration. Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang idol kong si Lapu-Lapu (Long live the Filipino people. Long live my idol Lapu-Lapu),” he added.
The President did not physically attend the celebration held in Mactan, Cebu on Tuesday. He was instead represented by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea during the ceremony.
This year, the country marked the 500th anniversary of its role in the first circumnavigation of the world, the victory of Lapu-Lapu in the Battle of Mactan, and other historic events from 1519 to 1522.
Lapu-Lapu and warriors of Mactan island on April 27, 1521 defeated western firepower and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who began the supposed first trip around the globe.