WW2 veterans take center stage in week-long Philippine Veterans Week
For the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), there are no awards or decoration that can repay Filipino veterans’ heroism in fighting for the Flag.
But just to remind them how grateful the nation is to them, the DND-AFP commemorate the Philippine Veterans Week by citing several World War 2 veterans.
Leading this year’s awardees is 101-year-old Sgt. Jose S Quilatan, who received a Certificate of Recognition for his contributions in the guerilla campaigns during World War II that had been instrumental in saving the lives of hundreds of his countrymen and contributed to the victory of the country.
Sgt. Quilatan was a member of the Trigger Unit of the Hunter’s ROTC Guerilla, one of the main anti-Japanese guerilla groups that operated in the National Capital Region and Southern Luzon, as rifleman from 1942 to 1945.
Sgt. Quilatan personally received his award during the Review in honor of the Veterans at the Hunters ROTC Guerilla Field, Headquarters Philippine Army here on April 5, Tuesday.
A total of 15 Filipino veterans, both living and dead, were recognized during the Veterans Week celebration which kicked off on Tuesday, April 5, with a Sunrise and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, Libingan ng mga Bayani, and Review in honor of the Veterans at the Hunters ROTC Guerilla Field, HPA.
The Living Veteran awardees are Cdr Bienvenido A Alano, Col Guillermo T Garcia, Sgt Isaias C Lucena, PFC Francisco S Palmaran, Pvt. Pedro T Olarte, Pvt. Pedro R Mayumay, and Pvt. Juanita J Pasco.
The Posthumous awardees include Col Teofilo B Padua, Maj. Lorenzo P Padua, Cpt. Ambrosio M Reyes, 2Lt Marcela R Rosales, Sgt Luciano E Lactao, Sgt Olimpio D Navales, and Pvt. Apolonio V De Leon.
Brigade-sized troops, composed of personnel from the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force, tendered the review.
Former Executive Secretary and Secretary of National Defense, Hon Eduardo R Ermita was the guest of honor and speaker.
The Philippine Army joins the whole nation in giving tribute to the Filipino freedom fighters, remembering their bravery and drawing inspiration from their sacrifices.
The week-long celebration of the Philippine Veterans Week and the 74th Araw ng Kagitingan will culminate on April 11 through a sunset ceremony at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
On the part of the DND, Hon. Jesus C. Millan, Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans, and Retirees Affairs, led the veterans and the youth in a “Tribute to all Filipino Heroes” ceremony on 7 April in the historic Corregidor Island in the province of Cavite.
Undersecretary Millan honored all Filipino heroes, patriots and defenders who fought and died for country’s freedom and liberty.
In his speech, Millan extolled the three posthumous awardees of the event. “The fight for the ideals of freedom and this sad memory shall be forever etched in our history. Those who survived continued their struggle and joined other resistance movement just like what our three awardees courageously demonstrated—Lt Heracleo Alano earned a Silver Star Award for his gallantry against superior Japanese dive bombers, Lt Federico Martir after his release from prison aided in mapping enemy locations and Lt Eliseo Rio demonstrated gallantry in the battle of the pockets against attacking the enemy forces,” he said.
The program proper featured a “Tolling of Bell” by Veteran Leandro T. Pacio, with Maria Lilibeth S. Lapena, student of Florentino Joya Elementary School, reciting a pledge extolling those who sacrificed their lives for their love for the Philippines, and vowing to keep the flame of patriotism ever burning in the hearts of Filipinos of all generations.
The event was attended by veterans and other guests who were ferried by the vessels of the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and Sun Cruises. The luxury cruise of the veterans via MV Sun Cruiser was made possible through the sponsorship of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), a member of the Technical Working Committee for the conduct of 2016 Philippine Veterans Week. #