70th Baguio Liberation Day at the Park
May 2, 2015
BAGUIO CITY – World War II veterans reminisced the events of war, as the Special
Action Force (SAF) “Braves” of the Cordilleras were honored during the 70th Liberation of Baguio program, last Monday morning at the Veterans’ Park, Harrison road.
A handful of veterans, members of the Sons and Daughters Association, families
of the Cordillera braves, city officials, national line and local government agency employees were present as the American and Philippine flags were raised with their respective national anthems, assisted by the Philippine Military Academy Band.
Wreaths were laid at the memorial by Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Councilors Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Elaine Sembrano, Fred Bagbagen, Peter Fianza, Leandro Yangot, and the Guest Speaker from the University of the Philippines, Historian Ricardo Jose and representatives from the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP), United States Armed Forces in the Philippines-Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL), and veterans of foreign wars.
Drum rolls, volleys of fire and Taps were sounded off by the PMA group.
Guest speaker Dr. Ricardo Jose of the Department of History, University of the Philippines gave a condensed review of events leading to, during and after the war, with personal accounts and memoirs from veterans and war evacuees. Jose as a boy was fascinated with armaments, which became a passion towards a career. He is an expert in military and diplomatic history after researches and personal interviews in local, Asian and international settings.
In his message, Mayor Domogan expressed gratitude to the gallant veterans who in the war that started and ended in Baguio, “willingly sacrificed” precious lives on the “altar of freedom,” through the face of tanks, guns and bombs. “As recipients of the gift of liberation, it is our responsibility to preserve the blessings of freedom. We should constantly realize, victory is the child of struggle,” the mayor noted.
We, who now reap the fruits of freedom should keep in mind those who planted the fruit-bearing tree, the mayor emphasized.
Mayor Domogan however said our battle nowadays are focused on the personal, such as vices; and on the social side such as poverty, crime, traffic, garbage and too much politics.
The council-approved financial help for the Cordilleran SAF family was also given those present.
Veterans Atty. Enrique Sobrepena and Gabriel Igme shared memoirs of the war as intermission numbers were given by the Baguio City Police Office and Baguio City National High School Special Performing Arts.
The theme for this year’s celebration is, “Walk Baguio for Liberators.”
In the afternoon, guest speaker and historian Jose conducted a lecture entitled “Reexamining World War II in the Philippines” with a forum at the Camp John Hay Club house./Julie G. Fianza