April 15, 2024

The city go-vernment conferred awards to 15 World War II veterans who played a role in the liberation of Baguio in 1945.
The award was conferred during the city’s 77th Victory Day Celebration on Sept. 3 spearheaded by the City Tourism and Special Events Office.

77TH VICTORY DAY CELEBRATION — The city government of Baguio celebrated the 77th Victory Day on Sept. 3  at the Baguio Convention and Cultural Center with Philippine Veteran’s Affairs Office Administrator Reynaldo Mapagu gracing the event. Representatives of the 15 war veterans received an award from the city government represented by Rep. Marquez Go with members of the city council and Mapagu. — Neil Clark Ongchangco

Posthumous awards were given to relatives of veterans who passed away.
Rep. Marquez Go; Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Administrator, Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu; Philippine Veterans Bank First Vice Pre-sident Angelo Villa-real; and councilors Peter Fianza, Benny Bomogao, Vladimir Cayabas, Leandro Yangot, Jr., and Elmer Datuin led the award ceremonies.
Mapagu, in his keynote address, stressed the importance of honoring the war veterans, saying it was due to their bravery and gallantry that the country enjoys the freedom, which at times being taken for granted.
“We offer our highest respect and reverence to our veterans for gaining our freedom since it was never given free but obtained by great sacrifice and paid for by their sweat, tears, and blood,” he said.
Go emphasized House Bill 3721, which declares Sept. 3 a holiday in Baguio to commemorate the Japanese forces’ formal declaration of surrender in World War II in the city on Sept. 3, 1945.
The annual event honors Filipino soldiers who fought during the Japanese occupation.
Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita signed the document of surrender at Camp John Hay, ending World War II.
The program included the unveiling of a mural and marker with the theme: “A tribute to Filipino freedom fighters: Out of the darkness, prisms of light.”
The event was capped with a tour at the Smart City Command Center at the Baguio Convention Cultural Center basement and at the Historical Core-Bell House Museum and Amphitheater, Camp John Hay. – Gaby B. Keith