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11 April 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “Our veterans have rendered a service that has no equal, and one which we can only hope to repay by living up to the promise of a free and peaceful and civilized nation”, Charge d’affaires and Minister Patrick Chuasoto said in his opening remarks during the reception and symposium held in commemoration of the 74th Araw Ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on 08 April 2016.

The Philippines celebrates Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) every 9th day of April to commemorate the heroism of Filipino soldiers during the day in the Second World War in 1942 when the Philippines was invaded by the Japanese forces, leading to the eventual fall of Bataan and Death March.

Also present during the reception were two (2) of the remaining Filipino WWII veterans, Lt. Celestino Almeda and Private Rodolfo Panaglima.

Mr. Panaglima, 86, was among the youngest members of Filipino guerillas who fought the Japanese forces while Mr. Almeda, 98, was a member of the underground guerilla units during the second world war.

“This year’s theme, Isabuhay ang Kagitingan, Kapayapaan ay Pagkaisahan, Kamtin ang Mithiing Kaunlaran, reminds us how peace and progress go hand in hand. The sacrifice of our veterans to forge a lasting peace ensures the path to economic prosperity,” the Minister further stated.

The Philippine Government and Filipino community also continue their joint campaign to mobilize Congressional support for the bill seeking to award the Congressional Gold Medal collectively to Filipino WWII veterans.

Currently, the bill has 33 co-sponsors in the US Senate and 67 in the House of Representatives. To pass into law, the bill needs 34 more co-sponsors in the Senate and 152 co-sponsors in the House.

“I hope that you will continue to join me in getting them the recognition they truly deserve to restore their dignity and honor”, MGen Antonio T. Taguba USA (Ret), Chair of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FILVETREP) said during the symposium.

Earlier before the reception, a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the World War II Memorial, led by Minister Patrick Chuasoto and MGen Delfin Lorenzana, Head of the Office of Veteran Affairs, along with the WWII Veterans, Philippine Embassy personnel, and Fil-Am Community of Metro DC.

A documentary on the Filipino WWII veterans entitled “Duty to Country” was also shown during the symposium, followed by a brief discussion on the Rescission Act of 1946 and its lasting effect on WWII Filipino Veterans by MGen Delfin Lorenzana.###

11 April 2016

Wreath-laying ceremony during the 74th Bataan Day Commemoration held at the World War II Memorial, National Mall on 08 April 2016

11 April 2016

Lt. Celestino Almeda and Private Rodolfo Panaglima, two of the remaining Filipino WWII veterans, were present during the reception and symposium held at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on 08 April 2016