ZAMBOANGA City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, together with Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Carlito Galvez Jr. and several World War II veterans, led the commemoration of the 76th Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) at the Rizal Shrine on Monday, April 9.
Donning her uniform as Army Lieutenant Colonel Reservist, Salazar paid tribute to the brave souls who fought for the country during the Second World War as well as the security forces and civilians who offered their lives during the 2013 Zamboanga siege and last year’s siege in Marawi City.
Salazar stressed that the City Government has existing health and assistance program for senior citizens, adding that she will support any moves at the national level to fast track the grant of benefits and privileges for Filipino veterans.
The City Hall flag flies at half-mast on Monday, as the City pays respect and tribute to those who fought during the Fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942.
“Let us remember our recent battlefield victories and achievements that are attributed to the sacrifices of those who dared to bleed,” Lieutenant General Galvez said. “This is a time of remembrance and we recall those who have gone ahead of us and those who died a very dignified death.”
Galvez noted that the captured soldiers, who made their last stand in Bataan 76 years ago, “stood strong and heroes emerged from the event” despite they have surrendered to the Japanese imperial forces.
“Without this (last) stand, the Japanese might have quickly overrun all of the U.S. bases in the Pacific,” Galvez said. “(The battle of) Bataan forced them (Japanese forces) to slow down, giving the allies valuable time to prepare for future great battles, such as the battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway.”
The American and Filipino soldiers eventually retook Bataan Peninsula on February 8, 1945.