LINGAYEN -- The province of Pangasinan will pay tribute on January 9 the heroism of Pangasinan war veterans as it observes the 65th anniversary of the Lingayen Gulf Landings of General Douglas McArthur and the other allied forces during World War II.

Unlike in the past years, the Provincial Government no longer requested from Malacanang that January 9, 2010 be declared as official non-working holiday in the province as the date falls on a Saturday.

Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan said today’s event will start with a thanksgiving mass with surviving Pangasinense World War II veterans in attendance.

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This will be followed by the traditional wreath-laying ceremony, to be led by Governor Amado Espino Jr., at the Veterans Memorial Park located at the back of the Capitol building highlights.

As gathered by the office of Baraan from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) in Dagupan City, there are still 2,790 Pangasinense war veterans receiving their monthly pension.

Also, a good number of war veterans, accompanied by family members, religiously attend activities concerning veterans organized by the Provincial Government.

Baraan said that the simple rites was made by the administration of Espino as a special event “to immortalize and refresh the people’s consciousness” on the heroism of Pangasinan war veterans and the historic Lingayen Gulf.

He further said that it will serve as “health-consciousness day” for the province’s World War II heroes as a free medical mission will be held at the Narciso Ramos and Sports and Civic Center gym.

“The medical mission is the idea of Governor Espino as part of his goal in transforming Pangasinan as the healthiest province in the country,” he said.

In the past years, the Lingayen Gulf Landings commemoration programs by the Provincial Government were simple and not so noticed by Pangasinenses except during the 50th anniversary in 2005 and on the 60th anniversary.

To instill into the consciousness of the Pangasinenses, especially the younger generations the sacrifices of the veterans, the commemoration of Pangasinan Veterans Day (and the Lingayen Gulf Landings) was institutionalized in 2007 through Provincial Board Resolution 331-2007 authored by Vice Governor Marlyn Primicias-Agabas and passed on October 15, 2007. (LCMY/Sunnex)