PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte urged the Filipinos to uphold the country's sovereignty and protect the rights and freedom, as the nation celebrated Tuesday, April 9, the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor).
“As we hold this solemn observance, it is my hope that we will all be inspired to remain steadfast like our forefathers and their allies in upholding our sovereignty and in protecting the rights and freedoms that our people enjoy today,” Duterte said in a statement Tuesday.
The President also lauded the heroism of both Filipino and American soldiers who fought in Bataan in 1942 during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.
“Today, we remember the heroism of the brave Filipino and American soldiers who stood side by side in the mountains and jungles of Bataan in defense of our liberty and democracy,” Duterte said.
"We also remember the countless civilians who aided our forces so they could offer a valiant defense against the overwhelming force of the enemy. We may not be able to memorialize all of them, but we will forever remember and honor their epic struggle and unshakeable fortitude," he added.
“I join our veterans, allies and the rest of the Filipino people in commemorating Araw ng Kagitingan. May we all have a meaningful celebration,” he said.
Hundreds of Filipino and American soldiers died fighting against the Japanese soldiers in Bataan in 1942. After 93 days of resistance, the soldiers were forced to surrender.
The Japanese imprisoned some 60,000 Filipino and American troops and made them walk around 112 kilometers from Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac under the sun, with no food and water for days. The incident is now known as the Bataan “Death March.” (LMY/With PNA/SunStar Philippines)