/ 15 June 2021

EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones urged Filipinos to be united amid the challenges the nation faces and to continue defending their freedom.

“As a nation, we pray that we become united more than ever. The struggle continues — the struggle to free ourselves from the constraints that prevent us from enjoying the benefits of a truly independent nation, not just political independence from foreign rule,” Briones said during DepEd’s virtual Independence Day commemoration.

“Independence is not granted, independence is not given, independence is always won, it is defended, it is fought for,” she added.

Briones led the Independence Day celebration through a virtual symposium for teachers and students nationwide hosted by DepEd-NCR and the Schools Division Office of Pasay City, in cooperation with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

“I’m very glad that we are having this symposium because there are still many issues regarding independence, whether political, economic, social and even independence from health issues, social development issues which continue to be debated,” Briones noted.

“I believe that celebrations and reflections on independence should not be limited to the usual rituals and flag-raising but should include discussions, debates, and reflections on what independence for the Philippines means right now,” the DepEd chief added.

Briones also cited the Katipunero’s battle with colonizers and how the strength and unity of revolutionaries prevailed against the odds.

“And now, 123 years after we declared our political independence, the freedom from health issues, from Covid19, the struggle, the call for unity is far from over. Last year we claimed victory because we succeeded and we were allowed by the President to open our classes, to continue with education despite the pandemic. With the support of the local government units, private partners, civil society organizations, parents, communities, and the learners themselves, education continued,” she said.

DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs Tonisito Umali commended teachers and learners for actively participating in historical discussions.

“Dahil po sa inyong lahat ang ating pangarap na ihanda ang isang magandang kinabukasan  para sa ating mga anak, sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaroon po ng mga aktibidad katulad nito na mauunawaan ang kasaysayan ng Filipinas, ang kahalagahan ng kalayaan ng bansa. Na maunawaan nila ito at maiugnay sa kanilang inaaral sa araw-araw para maging prodaktibo at mahusay na mamayang Filipino  sila sa hinaharap, lahat po iyan ay mangyayari. Mabuhay po kayo,” Umali said.