BAGUIO CITY, Sept. 9 (PIA) -- The heroism of World War II(WWII) veterans in Baguio City and Benguet were recognized during the celebration of the National Victory Day here recently.
At least 15 war veterans who fought for freedom of the Filipinos during the WWII received medals and plaques from the Department of National Defense (DND) - Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) led by Usec. Ernesto Carolina and the city officials led by Acting Mayor Faustino Olowan and Congressman Mark Go represented by his wife Sol Go, during the Victory Day celebration on September 3, at the Veterans Park, Harrison Road. here.
Awardees from Baguio City include Angelo Viloria Andrada, Romeo Marcelino de Guzman, Icasiano Pastrana Indon, Gregorio de Paz Lopez and Orlando Claudio Pimentel.
From the province of Benguet, awardees were Danio Togmina Becasen of Tawang, Wilfredo Valdez Estandian of Km. 3, and Magno Galwan Lamsis of Bineng, all of La Trinidad; Catel Molagat Dagsa of Pudong, Kapangan; Florendo Ngamay Pool of Tuba, and Eusebio Sadca Pasadillo of Palasaan, Mankayan.
Veterans Isabelo Tulian Alberto of Karao, Bokod; Pilingan Baysen Biang of Pudong Kapangan, and Silvino Pitas Palaoag of Twin Peaks, Tuba, all of Benguet, were posthumously awarded.
The oldest war veteran awarded was Cato Dampas Pulac of La Trinidad, Benguet at the age of 101.
Despite being in a wheelchair, Pulac showed strong will and commitment as he stood up and walked to the stage assisted by family members to receive his medal and plaque during the ceremony.
Pulac who joined the resistance on June 7, 1943 rendered military service under the United States Army Forces in the Philippines - North Luzon as a rifleman. His unit participated in the long battle in Bessang - Cervantes operations against the Japanese Forces which would ultimately led to the capture of General Tomoyuki Yamashita in Kiangan, Ifugao on Sept. 2, 1945 and formal surrender in Baguio City the following day.
Carolina stressed that the celebration was dedicated to the heroes of WWII, the war veterans who offered and sacrificed their lives to attain freedom of the Filipinos. He said the heroes represent the gallantry and bravery of the Filipino people.
He said the veterans were recognized for their contribution during the war which had been made part of a glorious chapter in the history of the Philippines and will be etched forever in the country's rich history and will serve as an inspiration to the youth of this generation, to love and serve the country and to fight for peace and freedom at all cost.
The Victory Day program kicked off with the wreath laying ceremony by the Philippine Veterans Bank, PVAO, war veterans, Sons and Daughters of war veterans and city officials.
A 21 gun salute was rendered by the Baguio City Police Office and the taps and ruffle by the Philippine Military Academy.
The Baguio City National High School -Special Program for the Arts also performed a play that depicts historical accounts leading to the Victory Day and end of the Second World War in Asia Pacific.
Olowan and Go delivered their Victory Day messages stressing that Baguio City is a very important part of history since the WWII in the Asia Pacific started in Baguio City with the bombings of Camp John Hay on December 8, 1941 that ended in the city with the signing of the Instrument of Surrender of the Japanese forces on Sept. 3, 1945 by Gen. Yamashita, also at Camp John Hay.(JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)