Statement of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the occasion of the eighty-second anniversary of the death of Francisco Balagtas (Baltazar), Manila, February 20, 1944:

The place of Balagtas in our national life today lies in the universal acceptance and appreciation of his achievement as the creator of the Tagalog classic, Florante at Laura.

It should be the endeavor of every Filipino to read and understand this poem in the National Language and cherish its every line until the very core of its spirit and substance has found complete identification in his character and outlook.

Florante at Laura is a distillation of Filipino folk-wisdom deeply rooted in a basically Oriental spirit. It is, further, the perpetually valid protest of a sensitive social conscience against the primacy of tyranny, corruption, and ignorance. At a time that calls for courage, abnegation, and discipline, the substance of the message of Florante at Laura holds a most timely pertinence to the thought and life of every Filipino that is solicitous for the success of the Republic.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library