The Philippine declaration of independence in June 1898 is an assertion of freedom. As the republic faced an uncertain future, it mustered the strength and resolve to declare the certainty of its right to sovereignty.

Such an unequivocal declaration can only be made with confidence in one’s rights and freedoms. 

Today, we honor the courage that sustained our peoples’ struggle for independence, as we celebrate the gains we have won in building just and lasting peace for all. We also find relief in our slow but sure recovery from the precariousness of recent years that have passed – years we spent in fear and isolation as we fought for a different kind of freedom in the midst of a pandemic.

As we commemorate Independence Day today, let us continue to live by the spirit that made it possible. Filipinos all over the country fought for freedom, and continue to fight for their right to a just and peaceful life to this day. Our freedom is one that we claim for ourselves, and it is a freedom that we continue to assert in solidarity with nations and communities that continue to struggle for the fullness of freedom and justice.

May we continue to honor the strength of our ancestors and live by the faith that teaches us to free each other from poverty and hunger, from marginalization and oppression. May we continue the constant and necessary struggle for our rights and freedoms — a struggle that is always ours to win.