In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama led the wreath-laying activity in front of Rizal’s statue in Plaza Sugbo on Friday morning.
Aside from Rama, city government officials and employees, uniformed personnel and members of the Knights of Rizal were present during the activity.
In his speech, Rama acknowledged that there are some Filipinos who don’t believe that Rizal should be considered the national hero and are more in favor of having Filipino revolutionary Andres Bonifacio or the late President Emilio Aguinaldo take the title.
Rama said these beliefs should be respected and questioning who is the real national hero should not be an issue.
The mayor further said that the commemoration of Rizal’s death should make Filipinos remember the value and meaning of nationalism, heroism, and patriotism.
According to Rama, people are not expected to do great things in society immediately but by doing small important things, when done frequently, become big.
Rama also shared that his grandfather, the late Don Vicente Rama once authored a bill in Congress that would require all students to read the two novels of Rizal, “El Filibusterismo” and “Noli Mi Tangere.”
However, it did not become a law due to the strong Spanish influence at the time the bill was introduced in Congress.
In Lapu-Lapu City, acting Mayor Celedonio “Celsi” Sitoy has urged students to emulate Rizal’s virtues, adding that they have “an obligation to contribute to the country’s development.”
Sitoy made the statement during the city’s commemoration of Rizal’s martyrdom at Plaza Rizal in Barangay Poblacion.
“Don’t put a barrier on your horizon. Soar high. As what our national hero said, ‘You are the hope of our nation,’” Sitoy said in Cebuano.
Acting Vice Mayor Eugene Espedido, for his part, hoped that everyone who graced the commemoration would go home to their respective places and ponder on the wisdom from Rizal.
Sitoy also stressed that while many remember Rizal’s martyrdom, they should not forget the “unsung heroes” of the city or those who sacrificed their lives and safety to keep the populace safe at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sitoy referred to the frontliners, including doctors, nurses, barangay workers, police officers, street sweepers, among others, whom he said are the living heroes in the city.