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VICE President Leni Robredo urged Filipinos to unite and draw strength from each other to collectively protect Philippine sovereignty, she said in her Independence Day message.

And without actually naming names, she also castigated the administration’s effort to make the people believe that Filipinos are weak and disunited, even as she underscored the need to stand united and look back at the hardships and sacrifices that Filipinos had faced to gain independence.

Sa harap ng makapangyarihan, parang naging imposible ang pumalag. Noon hanggang ngayon, ito mismo ang gustong ipapaniwala sa atin ng mga kalaban ang kalayaan: Na mahina tayo. Na watak-watak tayo. Na nag-iisa tayo, at mas dapat nating pagtuonan ang indibiduwal na interes kaysa sa kolektibo,” the Vice President said, apparently in reference to President Rodrigo Duterte’s numerous remarks on the issue of the territorial dispute with China on the West Philippine Sea.

“Pero ipinakita natin noon sa mga Kastila, at sa lahat ng sumubok maniil sa ating bayan: Mukha mang tagilid ang laban, basta humuhugot tayo ng lakas sa isa’t isa, kaya nating magtagumpay,” added Robredo.

She also rejected the “wrong notion of the weak and divided Philippines” citing historical fetes where Filipinos proved to be powerful when united.

At kung magbubuklod tayo, kung pagsasamahin natin ang ating lakas sa likod ng iisang layunin, masisiguro nating wala nang muling makaaagaw ng ating kalayaan,” she said.

She called on Filipinos to instill this as the country faces crises and challenges, particularly the pandemic, climate change, poverty, hunger, and the abuses against countless Filipinos.

Paalala ang Araw ng Kalayaan: Walang Pilipinong nag-iisa. Tayo ang lakas ng ating kapwa. Anuman ang tawag ng panahon, mukha mang imposible ang sitwasyon, kakayanin natin, magtatagumpay tayo, dahil iisang bayan tayo – humihirang sa iisang lupain, duyan ng magiting, hinding-hindi pasisiil,” she quipped.

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