By Raffy Cabristante | ABS-CBN News
MANILA — President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Sunday called on Filipinos to work together to free the country from the COVID-19 pandemic and the division caused by "cancel culture."
In his Independence Day message posted on his YouTube channel, Marcos said Filipinos can achieve this by using their intelligence and bravery, traits that, according to him, have been passed on by their ancestors since the proclamation of independence from Spain in 1898.
He said that he is now talking to experts on a plan to achieve freedom from COVID-19, particularly for workers and small businesses greatly affected by the pandemic.
"Ang kapakanan ng ating mga manggagawa, ang ating mga maliliit na negosyo ang iba't iba pang mga sektor na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nakabalik sa normal… iyan ang mga patuloy pa natin tinatalakay kasama ng lahat ng pinakamagagaling na eksperto," Marcos said.
(The welfare of our workers, of the small businesses and other sectors that have not yet returned to normal… We are discussing that now with the best experts.)
Aside from this, he said that his incoming administration will be working with leaders from other countries, particularly the Philippines' southeast Asian neighbors, to help the country recover from the effects of COVID-19.
Last week, Marcos met with several envoys from member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Johariah Wahab of Brunei, Phan Peuv of Cambodia, Agus Widjojo of Indonesia, Songkane Luangmuninthone of Laos, Gerard Ho of Singapore, Thawat Sumitmor of Thailand, and Hoang Huy Chung of Vietnam.
"Mahalaga ang naging ugnayang binubuo ng grupong ito para maprotektahan ang ating kapayapaan at katahimikan sa rehiyon at ang kalakalan o trade at iba pang mga interes na makakabuti sa ating bansa," Marcos said of the meeting.
(The links we make with this group are important in order to protect our region's security, trade, and our country's other interests.)
The President-elect added that he hopes the country will also experience freedom from division stemming from several factors including “cancel culture.”
"Pangalawa, ay ang kalayaan mula sa makaluma, mapanghusga, at mapanirang pag-iisip na siyang nagdadala ng galit at pagkamuhi sa kapwa at patuloy na pinagwawatak-watak ang ating lipunan. Cancel culture man ito, discrimination, bayolenteng hate crime, lahat yan ay hindi na katanggap-tanggap sa ating makabagong panahon.
(Second is the freedom from antiquated, judgmental and damaging thinking that leads to anger and disdain for others and the continuing fragmentation of our society. Whether its cancel culture, discrimination, violent hate crime– these are no longer acceptable in the new era.)
"Sana ay huwag tayong magpasakop sa ganitong pag-iisip. Palawigin ang ating pagrespeto, pagtanggap, at pag-unawa sa isa't isa," Marcos said.
(Let us not be conquered by this kind of thinking. We must let our respect, acceptance, and understanding for each other prevail.)
Marcos, the son and namesake of the late dictator, is set to be sworn into the presidency by the end of the month.
GALVEZ: FIGHT NOT YET OVER
In a separate statement, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. also said that the country will soon free itself from the grip of COVID-19.
"With the support of all sectors of society, our country has started to recover from the ill effects of the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases has significantly gone down, as our economy shows very good signs of recovery," Galvez said.
He also recognized Filipinos' resilience amid the effects of the pandemic, and acknowledged the efforts of frontliners for "putting their lives on the line in order to serve our countrymen."
Galvez likened the efforts of doctors, nurses, soldiers, police officer, fast food crew, riders, barangay workers and other frontliners to the sacrifices made by heroes of old to "free our country from the shackles of injustice and oppression."
"Our fight is not yet over. There are still a lot of concerns that need to be addressed in the peace, economic and health fronts. But we believe that we shall soon overcome this health crisis, and finally free our country from its grip," he added.
— with report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News