PHILIPPINE Veterans Affairs Office Administrator Undersecretary Ernesto Carolina has pushed for a legislation that will make September 3 an annual Victory Day observance in the country.
The proposed Victory Day serves as a mark of the historic signing of the instrument of surrender by General Tomoyuki Yamashita at Camp John Hay that officially ended the war in the Pacific in 1945.
At the same time, Carolina advocated for the inclusion of the event as well as other historical accounts on the heroism of Filipino guerilla soldiers that led to the capture of Yamashita in Ifugao on September 2, 1945 in the curriculum of schools in the country to inform the youth of the many untold stories of bravery of the Filipino fighters.
Carolina said there are many untold of stories of victories achieved by the Filipinos that are not being taught in schools and this could be a subject of legislation in Congress or local ordinances to require them to be part of the school curriculum.
“To prepare our future defenders, we have to sow the seed of love of country so they have to know our country and soldiers’ great historic past because that is where the sense of genuine national pride and love of country comes from,” he said.
Carolina also said that Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan is correct in saying that this episode in the country’s history should be given equal importance as any other historical events being celebrated in the country, including the Fall of Bataan or “Araw ng Kagitingan” every April 9.
Domogan, who has for years pushed for the Victory Day observance even during his time as the city’s representative to Congress, reiterated that it is but proper for the country to commemorate the date.
“April 9, Araw ng Kagitingan, Day of Defeat is being celebrated yearly. What more this Day of Victory,” he said.
September 3, 1945 marked the end of the war in the Pacific when the Japanese Emperor announced that he has given up the fight which led to the surrender of Gen. Yamashita which was formalized through the signing of the instrument of surrender to Gen. Jonathan Wainwright and a group of former Japanese prisoners of war at what is now the United States Ambassador’s Residence at Camp John Hay.
Domogan again recalled that the war in the Philippines did not only end in Baguio City but it also started in the city when the Japanese Imperial Air Force bombed the gates of Camp John Hay on December 8, 1941, a day after shelling Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
“Maybe it is God’s way of doing things, but as it happened, the war in the Philippines technically started and ended here in Baguio City,” he said.
Representative Mark Go who has a pending bill declaring September 3 as a special non-working holiday in the city expressed reception to Carolina’s suggestion. (PR)