A bill filed by Senator Richard J. Gordon honoring Lapu-Lapu as the first Asian to beat a colonial invader by declaring April 27 as Lapu-Lapu Day or Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu was passed on second reading last Wednesday without any amendments.
Senate Bill No. 108 seeks to declare April 27 of every year as a special working public holiday throughout the country to commemorate the victory of Lapu-Lapu and his men over the Spaniards led by Ferdinand Magellan in the historic Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521.
Gordon explained that Lapu-Lapu embodies the line in the Philippine National Anthem, "sa manlulupig, ‘di kapasisiil,” because Lapu-Lapu was the first successful defender of the Philippine shores. He was a native Muslim of Mactan and the earliest known indigenous Visayan Muslim chieftain and datu in the island of Mactan.
Unlike Rajah Humabon of Cebu and other chiefs of the neighboring islands, Lapu-Lapu refused to acknowledge the Spanish sovereignty over the islands and convert to Christianity.
“Lapu-Lapu had strong principles and was a peaceful leader until invaded, possessing the qualities of courage, bravery, strength, honor, and integrity, which should be emulated by every Filipino. Thus, in keeping with the Filipino tradition of commemorating momentous events in national history, this bill proposes the declaration of April 27 as a special working public holiday to be known as Lapu-Lapu Day or Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu, as a fitting tribute to the courage displayed by Lapu-Lapu and his men in the Battle of Mactan,” the senator said.
When Gordon was Secretary of Tourism, he fought to have the Lapu-Lapu Monument installed in the Luneta Park to represent the Visayas and the Muslims while Rizal represents Tagalog Christians which unites the country.
“The Koreans wanted to show their gratitude and deep respect to the Filipino people, whose sons fought and died in Korea. The Korean Freedom League was so touched by the sacrifices of the Filipino soldiers that they decided to honor this heroism with a statue of Lapu-Lapu in our National Park. Thus, the Statue of the Visayan-Muslim leader became the “Sentinel of Freedom in Asia,” he said.
In 2004, the 40-foot monument was built in the National Park in Luneta as a gift by the Korean Freedom League to the Filipino people to honor the Filipino soldiers who served and fought for the freedom of the Korean people. The Koreans gave the statue as a gift when, during every visit to Korea when he was SBMA Chairman and later as DOT Secretary, Gordon would go and visit the monument honoring Filipino soldiers who fought and died for FREEDOM during the Korean War.
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