Let us celebrate the 113th Declaration of Independence of the Philippines. Enjoy the declaration of freedom, Filipino.
Toast of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the Vin d’honneur for the 113th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence
[As delivered in Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace on June 12, 2011, Independence Day]
One hundred and thirteen years ago, we declared our independence on this day; and between then and today, we have lost our freedom and have won it back many times. So you can imagine how much it means to our people to be free—for our country to be a beacon of democracy on this side of the world. And it comes as no surprise that, moving forward, this freedom is what we have chosen to define ourselves by.
So today I would also like for all of us to look toward the future. The best way to pay our respects to the heroes who sacrificed for us is to put in the same amount of effort they did to making our country a better place—to building a nation truly free and committed to inclusive and equitable progress, borne of compassion and integrity.
My father once said that the Filipino is worth dying for. My mother articulated it again after she won back our democracy: The Filipino is worth living for. I have now committed my life to showing the world the truth that both my parents proclaimed.
Allow me then to raise my glass to freedom, to our heroes, and, most of all, to the heroes we hope will continue to be etched in our national memory, there for the coming generations of Filipinos to honor:
To what our soldiers fought for;
To what our martyrs died for;
And to what we, as a nation, aspire to perfect—the fulfillment of the greatest promises of democracy.