Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today called on the nation to commemorate Lapu-Lapu's heroism as the historic Battle of Mactan marks its 488th anniversary on April 27.
Gordon said that Lapu-Lapu, known as the first successful defender of Philippine shores against colonial invaders, should be given due recognition for exhibiting courage and resisting to be placed under foreign rule.
"In a week's time we will be commemorating the 488th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan led by Lapu-Lapu. We should all prepare to celebrate this event which is the first victory of our nation against foreign oppressors," he said.
"Lapu-Lapu is the first Filipino native who resisted foreign rule and fought against colonial invaders. He did not allow them to put up walls in his mind. Instead, he led his men to fight for their sovereignty," he added.
Lapu-Lapu was the king of Mactan who refused to submit to the rule of the Spanish invaders. Ferdinand Magellan, the leader of the Spanish expedition who arrived in the islands, then sent a party of sailors to Mactan to burn villages on the island.
However, instead of giving up, the Mactan chief, together with his men who were armed with spears, faced Spanish soldiers led by Magellan who was wearing armor from his head to his knees. Victory was on the side of the natives. It happened on April 27, 1521.
As a fitting tribute to the courage displayed by Lapu-Lapu and his men in the Battle of Mactan, Gordon filed Senate Bill 2162, declaring April 27 as a national holiday to commemorate the said victory.
"Lapu-Lapu is personified in our national anthem by the verse 'sa manlulupig di ka pasisiil' and makes us proud to be
"He had strong principles and possessed the qualities of courage, bravery, strength, honor, and integrity, which should be emulated by every Filipino so that we can break the walls of apathy and cynicism in our minds that were built by our colonial past," he added.
When he was tourism secretary, Gordon fought for the construction of the Lapu-Lapu statue at the Luneta, which the senator prefers to call by its original name Bagumbayan.
The 40-foot statue of the first Filipino hero was donated by members of the Korean Freedom League as a gift to the Filipino people in recognition of Filipino soldiers who had come to their country's aid and gave their lives during the Korean War. (30)