"Everything that is important should be earned, fought for."
President Benigno Aquino III delivered his last Independence Day speech as president on Sunday, June 12 with this core message: continue guarding, defending, and fighting for our freedom.
"Ngayong papasok tayo sa panibagong kabanata ng ating kasaysayan, nawa'y hindi natin malimot: Ang kalayaan, kailangang bantayan at alagaan," said Aquino during the vin d'honneur in Malacañang.
(Now that we're entering a new chapter in our history, I hope we won't forget: Freedom should be protected and taken care of.)
He talked about the curtailment of freedoms during the Martial Law years under dictator and president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
"Minsan nang inagaw ng kapwa natin Pilipino ang ating kalayaan. Ibig sabihin, kung hindi tayo magiging mapagmatyag, maaari uli itong mangyari," reminded Aquino.
(A fellow Filipino once robbed us of our freedom. This means, if we are not vigilant, it could happen again.)
He said his administration was able to fulfill his promises of progress without resorting to suppression of people's freedoms.
"Naabot natin ang lahat ng tinatamasa natin ngayon nang gumagalang sa proseso at sa batas at sa karapatan ng bawat tao. Nagawa natin ito nang hindi sinisikil ang tinig nino man, at binibigyang halaga ang kalayaang ipinaglaban ng mga nauna sa atin. Naninindigan pa rin tayo: Walang marating na tunay na pag-unlad kung isusuko ang ating dignidad at karapatan."
(We are enjoying all these by respecting the rule of law and the rights of everyone. We were able to do it without curtailing the voice of anyone, keeping in mind the freedom that our forebears earned for us. We stood our ground: there won't be true progress if we give up our dignity and rights.)
The Philippines is celebrating its 118th Independence Day on June 12, Sunday. A flag-raising ceremony at the Rizal Park was led by the president earlier in the day.
On June 30, Aquino will step down as head of state and president-elect Rodrigo Duterte will take oath as the 16th President of the Philippines.