BAGUIO CITY – Freedom from oppressors of different dimensions were expounded on by the 72nd liberation of Baguio speakers Benguet Governor Crescensio Pacalso and Vice Mayor Edison Bilog last Thursday morning at the Veterans Park along Harrison road.
Pacalso, detailed how freedom was won through blood-wrought hardships of veteran forefathers including his father Alejo. He also delved into civilians’ difficulties during World War II in Benguet areas, where supporters including children risked lives to deliver sustenance to guerillas hiding in the mountains.
Everybody, including older people and children often had to scamper and hide during air raids, inspection happens in roads and individuals were shot when suspected of being spies, Pacalso detailed. He conveyed gratitude for all sacrifices and the veterans’ gallantry during World War II and expressed hope for peace for the future generations.
“We should never allow another war to come and destroy our peace,” Pacalso ended.
Vice-Mayor Edison Bilog on one hand, said the soldiers’ sacrifices would never be forgotten. “Hindi po naming makakalimutan ang mga dakilang bayani na nagpalaya sa ating lunsod mula sa mga mapang-aping dayuhan.”
War against ignorance, drugs and destruction of the environment should be fought, too, Bilog emphasized. We should never allow drugs to destroy this generation and the next, as we wage war against those that destroy our natural resources, the fount of life, he further said.
In unity with the government, everybody will fight against the evils that pry on our youth thru drugs. As our valiant veteran heroes did, we protect our homes, our freedom, and work full of hope for tomorrow, Bilog added.
The commemoration started with a wreath-laying ceremony by the veterans; widows, sons and daughters; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, Philippine Veteran Affairs Office personnel led by Marilyn Ngayodan, Philippine Veterans Bank-Baguio branch, City officials led by Vice-Mayor Bilog, and speaker for the event Benguet Governor Pacalso.
Veterans who were able to attend the ceremonies are; Raymundo Gadgad, Jose Tiangao, Garcia Wakit, Marciano Miles, Esteban Esco, Tino Aticao, and Albert Bugtong, mostly in their 90s while Eduardo Peralta is the youngest at 87. Accordingly, the veterans were in their teens when war broke out in the 40s.
Volleys of fire were given by the Police Regional Office-Cordillera band; as invocation, intermissions and special numbers were given by the Girl Scouts of the Philippines-Baguio, and veteran descendant Paciante Balnges.
The Chiva ni Itogon also performed, as Pacalso and Councilor Lilia Farinas danced the Benguet Tayaw.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is, “World War II Veterans: The Guiding Light of our Mother Land.” /Julie G. Fianza#