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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Pulumbarit

#NationalHeroesDay 2020: Who's your hero?

August 31 is National Heroes Day in the Philippines.

According to the Official Gazette of the Philippine government, National Heroes Day was first celebrated in 1938 when the country was still a colony of the US.

Act 3827 declared every last Sunday of August as National Heroes Day. Over the years, different Philippine presidents would officially move the celebration of National Heroes Day to a different date:

  • President Jose Laurel in 1942 moved National Heroes Day to November 30, the birthdate of Filipino revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio;

  • President Elpidio Quirino in 1952 reverted the celebration of National Heroes Day to the last Sunday of August, and

  • President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007 signed Republic Act 9492 stating that National Heroes Day would be celebrated every last Monday of August.

The Official Gazette said National Heroes Day celebrates not any single, powerful individual but all Filipino heroes who demonstrated courage and bravery under different circumstances, whether for family or country.

"Our national heroes are often portrayed as a pantheon of distinct and powerful personalities who have managed to get their names published in our history books by virtue of their words or actions," the Official Gazette stated.

"But National Heroes Day specifies no hero; the law that put into practice the celebration does not name a single one. And this lack of specifics offers an opportunity to celebrate the bravery of not one, not a few, but all Filipino heroes who have braved death or persecution for home, nation, justice, and freedom," it added.

National Heroes Day 2020

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines said the theme for this year's celebration of National Heroes Day is Genuine Heroism in Struggle and Recovery (Tunay na Kabayanihan sa Paglaban at Pagbangon).

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization and the Department of Health (DOH) paid tribute to healthcare workers and other essential workers for being heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Archdiocese of Manila also paid tribute to healthcare workers through a National Heroes Day Mass, presided by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila.

According to the DOH, as of August 31 (4:00 p.m.), the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has reached 220,819. About 27% of these cases or 59,699 are active.

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