MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday urged Filipinos to draw inspiration from the gallantry of World War II veterans, ahead of the observance of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor).
“In this difficult time when our hope is being challenged by the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, we as a nation shall draw strength from our veterans who fought valiantly to defend our country,” AFP chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.
Sobejana also said the AFP salutes all front-liners who continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic with hopes of bringing back the Philippines to normalcy.
“As we remember the bravery and sacrifices of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, we also recognize our modern day heroes who are working tirelessly to protect our nation from and mitigate the effects of the global pandemic,” he added. “We will continue to work hand in hand, determined to overcome any kind of crisis, triumphantly, in the name of our undying love for our country,” he added.
Sobejana said the heroism of the defenders of Bataan during World War II showed the exceptional determination of Filipinos to stand against overwhelming odds.
He added that the legacy of the bravery and sacrifices made by these Filipino patriots gave the present generation the freedom, peace, and democracy they are now enjoying.
“These deeds of heroism and ideals continue to live in the hearts and minds of all our brave soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines who perform their sworn duty to uphold our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Sobejana said.
Under-equipped and meagerly supplied American and Filipino forces fighting in Bataan were forced to surrender to Japanese forces on April 9, 1942, after 93 days of gallant resistance.
Some 60,000 Filipino and American troops were made prisoners of war by the Japanese.
They were made to walk some 140 kilometers from Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac under the scorching sun with no food and water for days in what is known the world over as the “Death March.” (PNA)