/ 1 May 2021

HEROES come in all shapes and ages but what sets them apart is their persistence to overcome challenges, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said as she led her department in commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan.

Briones stressed that physique and age are not the basis of being a hero. She was reacting to a new report from a European historian that described the first Filipino hero Lapu-Lapu as a “pudgy 70-year-old man.”

“Heroes don’t look like comic book characters all the time. Our idols don’t have to look as if they emerged from the gym or the beauty parlor. Our heroes are real people who may be 70, who may be 30 or 40, but have the determination and the will not to be conquered by a foreign country,” she emphasized.

While acknowledging the need for verification, Briones welcomed the new information as it can bring a lesson to everyone.

“I’m very glad that this point of view emerged at this point because it teaches us that leadership, bravery, courage, and intelligence, skill in warfare, skill in tactics are not limited to those who look like they emerged from the gym,” she said.

The DepEd chief stressed that the country celebrated the victory of Lapu-Lapu and Filipino ancestors who defied foreign power.

“Today as we reflect and remember the victory of Lapu-Lapu, let us remind ourselves that this is a victory of people who resisted colonialism and eventually were called Filipinos,” she said.

Briones added that lesser-known heroes in Philippine history such as Leon Kilat, Arcadio Maxilom, Juan Climaco, Teresa Magbanua, Gat Tamblot, Francisco Dagohoy, Juan Araneta, and Graciano Lopez Jaena should also be celebrated.

DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla urged all Filipinos to imitate the self-determination and resilience of Lapu-Lapu and his colleagues as the country continues its battle against Covid19 pandemic.

“The Department of Education joins our fellow Filipinos to inspire one another to commit to a higher level of servitude and nationalism. We have drawn inspiration from individuals among us who have been galvanizing forces contributing to our community and country at large,” she said.