National and local government officials, security forces and diplomatic guests commemorated the 126th Independence Day at the Rizal Park here on Wednesday.

Vice President Sara Duterte led the wreath-laying ceremony together with Naval Forces of Eastern Mindanao Commodore Alfonspin Tumanda Jr., Davao City Vice Mayor J Melchor Quitain and Deputy Regional Director for Administration of the Police Regional Office XI- Police Brigadier General Wilson Soliva.

Duterte, in her speech, said the Independence Day celebration is about honoring the great legacy left by the forefathers.

She said the freedom everyone experiences is the result of the unyielding resolve of our ancestors to reclaim our right to govern ourselves as a sovereign nation.

“While we pay tribute to their countless sacrifices and reflect on the past, we must also look toward the future as our independence is not just a historical milestone but an unceasing journey. It is our duty and moral responsibility to maintain this freedom by learning from our past mistakes and tackling the current issues that obstruct our growth as a nation,” Duterte said.

She called on everyone, especially the youth, to uphold the values of patriotism and democracy.

“As you go out into the world, make wise decisions that not only benefit you but also contribute to the greater good. Always be reminded that the consequences of your actions and choices can shape the future. May you be the driving force for positive change in the country that truly embodies the spirit of independence,” Duterte said.

Tumanda, in his speech, also encouraged everyone to work together to create a nation that values freedom, democracy, and equality.

Flower offerings were also done by the Diplomatic Corps from People’s Republic of China, Malaysia Republic of Indonesia, and Japan, Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Veterans Federation of the Philippines, Davao City Police Office, Philippine National Police, Naval Forces in Eastern Mindanao, Coastguard South Eastern Mindanao-Coastguard Station Davao, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology XI, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Education Division Davao City, DepEd Regional Office XI, Knights of Columbus, Masonic District XI, Knights of Rizal, Veterans Sons and Daughters Association, Boy Scout of the Philippines, and the Office of the President. CIO