Manila, May 13, 2003 -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today likened 
today's Filipino health workers to national hero Apolinario Mabini, the 
brains of the Philippine Revolution, who despite his handicap, served to 
free Filipinos.

The President, who made the comparison during the death centenary of Mabini 
at the Mabini Shrine at the Malacanang Park, said just like Mabini, the 
Filipino health workers are the heroes in the battle against the dreaded 
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

"Sila ang ating mga bayani ng mga araw na ito (they are the heroes of 
today)," she said.
"Kaya kung pinaparangalan natin si Mabini, bigyan din natin ng parangal ang 
ating mga health workers na napakagaling at may malasakit (if we are 
honoring Mabini today, we should likewise pay tribute to our health workers 
who are facing battles against diseases around the world)," she said.

"Because of them, so far, we're winning the fight against SARS," she said.

The President said what the firefighters and the New York police were in 
9-11, our health workers are the heroes in the battle against SARS, not 
only in the Philippines but in Hong Kong, Singapore, and wherever we have 
health workers all over the world," she said.

"Every Filipino must continue to take responsibility for the health and 
welfare of the entire national community. Everybody has a stake in making 
the Philippines SARS-free," she said.

Despite his disability, Mabini served as a beacon in Philippine history and 
culture. Born of poor parents, he served as one of the leaders of the 
Philippine revolution. He supported his law studies by taking on odd jobs. 
He eventually became a lawyer.

Mabini also served in the cabinet of the President Aguinaldo as president 
of the council of secretaries, and secretary of foreign affairs.

During his term, Mabini was able to create several towns, provinces and 
courts and eventually the nucleus of the Philippine Constitution. He was 
banished in Guam and eventually died at the age of 39.

Among the officials in attendance during today's ceremonies were National 
Historical Institute Executive Director Ludovico Badoy, Manila Mayor Jose 
"Lito" Atienza, Jr., Tourism Undersecretary Evelyn Pantig and Metro Manila 
and Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando.

Before delivering her speech, the President laid a wreath at the bust of 
Mabini. She also led the flag-raising ceremony.

Badoy also presented to the President the Mabini Centenary Stamps and 
commemorative medal. (Malacanang News Release)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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