By Restituto A. Cayubit
Tacloban City – The governor of Leyte stressed freedom from poverty as he led the 120th Independence Day rites at the capitol grounds here Tuesday.
Gov. Dominico L. Petilla said in his speech that after independence was declared there were many threats to freedom, including poverty.
Petilla said commemorating Independence Day also highlights the sacrifice of the people who gave their lives in defending the country’s sovereignty.
He said a present threat the country faces is the Chinese occupation of the West Philippine Sea.
Petilla also pointed out the people power revolution in 1986 “although at that time we are not occupied by foreign forces” wherein independence is not necessarily free from being occupied by foreign powers.
“We long for freedom” and it is not only the foreigners who can curtail that freedom, he said. The people also long for independence from poverty, malnutrition and illegal drugs.
Petilla said there can never be freedom in the province if poverty persists.
At the same time, he said Leyte has drastically reduced poverty and malnutrition, raised the income of the poorest of the poor.