BACOLOD City Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran led the commemoration of the fall of Bataan known as the “Araw ng Kagitingan” in rites held at the public plaza Monday, April 9.

The Day of Valor is a public holiday in the Philippines.

Familiaran said the city has high regard for the war veterans.

“We expressed our gratitude to them for showing courage and bravery in the face of a life and death experience - such as starvation, disease, dehydration and physical exhaustion and even death in fighting for the country’s freedom during the Japanese invasion to the Philippines in 1942.”

The vice mayor said the soldiers deserved the people’s love, honor, and respect because despite the inferior quality of their weapons, they ended up victorious.

“We want the youth to be inspired by the sense of nationalism, courage, bravery, and love of country displayed by our war veterans,” he said.

The fall of Bataan peninsula marked the surrender of the Philippine-US army to Japanese forces on April 9, 1942.

The forced surrender happened due to depletion of food, medicines, and ammunition.

Based on history books, thousands of the US-Filipino soldiers were imprisoned.

But due to congestion, the Japanese decided to move the prisoners from Bataan to San Fernando, which is 140 kilometers away.

They went there by foot, which is known as the “Death March of Bataan” as many prisoners died due to physical reason but others were murdered by the Japanese soldiers.

However, the prolonged defense of the Bataan peninsula hindered the Japanese army’s progress which enabled the Filipino and US forces to prepare for the subsequent battles that ultimately led to the victory of the US-Filipino soldiers against the Japanese soldiers, according to history books.

Familiaran said: “Let this experience be known to the youth for them to give importance to these virtues such as love of country, bravery, and courage.”