News Release

President Duterte calls on Filipinos to relive history to protect country’s sovereignty

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the 500th Anniversary of the Philippine Part in the First Circumnavigation of the World held at the Veterans Park Calicoan Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on March 18, 2021. ACE MORANDANTE/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday graced the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Magellan-Elcano expedition in the Philippines, encouraging Filipinos to learn from history to protect the country’s sovereignty and attain national development.

Thursday’s event marked the 500th anniversary of the Philippine’s part in the first circumnavigation of the world with the arrival of the historic expedition of the Europeans.

Speaking before the participants in the event held in Veterans Park Calicoan Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, President Duterte hopes that as the country commemorates the events that shaped the nation’s history five centuries ago, “we may reinvigorate the historical and socio-civic consciousness of the Filipino, especially among the new generations”.

He encouraged the Filipino public to take part in the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations slated this year to bring the nation’s history, culture, and traditions closer to everyone’s heart.

The history of the country should make Filipinos reflect on the past and look beyond their future, he said, noting everyone should therefore honor those who have toiled in order for the Philippines to become modern, progressive, and ever thriving as what it is today.

And while the Magellan-Elcano expedition led to the beginning of colonization of the Philippines by Spain, the Filipino people can find relief in the knowledge that they have gone far in their efforts to correct the mistakes of the past, he stressed.

“As inheritors of this complicated yet glorious past, the duty now rests on our shoulders to continue the aspirations of our forebears,” the President said.

“I therefore call on all our kababayans to appreciate our rich history and learn from the experiences of those that came before us so that we may never again allow any other tribe to compromise our sovereignty — invaders who would come and who would stay here and contribute to the richness of our culture and of course in the way how we live,” he noted.

President Duterte also unveiled in Barangay Ngolos, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, the historical marker identifying the Philippines’s role in the 500th anniversary of the historic feat.

It was in Suluan island where the Magellan-Elcano expedition anchored on March 16, 1521 from Guam. They landed for the first time in Homonhon the next day and on the following day, met local inhabitants for the first time, offering them food and nourishment.

The members of the expedition arrived in Samar starving, dehydrated, scurvy-stricken, and undernourished for almost four months of voyage across the Pacific.

Also present during the ceremony were Spain’s Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas Sanchez, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go. PND