CAPAS, Tarlac -- Three World War II veterans received posthumous recognition from the United States (US) during the 2019 Paggunita sa Capas.
US Department of Veteran Affairs Director Tracey Betts, assisted by Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Administrator Ernesto Carolina, led the awarding of a Bronze replica of the Congressional Gold Medal to the relatives of Col. Alfredo E Batenga Sr., Maj. Luis F Bersamin, and M/Sgt. Marcial M Morales.
“Batenga Sr. served from July 16, 1938 to May 20, 1968 as a member of the Sulu Constabulary, Zamboanga Sector. During the war, the unit became part of the Visayan-Mindanao force that carried out an organized defense of the Philippine territories,” Carolina said.
Bersamin served as a member of the Medical Field Service of the 21st Infantry Division that established defenses to thwart the Japanese amphibious forces in Lingayen Gulf.
“Meanwhile, Morales served from September 3, 1941 to December 21, 1946 as a part of the 31st Engineer Battalion, 31st Division of the Philippine Army. His unit was first tasked to defend the coast of Zambales from the amphibious enemy forces, and the 31st Division was tasked to defend the western flank of the Abucay-Morong line where they carried out the mission, courageously engaging the Japanese advance,” Carolina added.
Paggunita sa Capas is part of the annual observance of Philippine Veterans Week which honors the bravery of war veterans.
This year’s commemoration carries the theme “Sakripisyo ng Beterano ay Gunitain, Gawing Tanglaw ng Kabataan Tungo sa Kaunlaran.” (PR)