By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY—World War II veteran Cirilo Frigillano did not hold back tears as the song “Bayan Ko” was played during the 74th Victory Day for Panay, Guimaras and Romblon Islands in this city.
Frigillano is one of the 27 veterans from Panay who finally received the bronze replica of the Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by the United States Congress.
During the ceremonial awarding last Tuesday, the 93-year-old Frigillano recalled the hardships of Filipino guerilla fighters who launched the final assault against the Japanese army in Iloilo and paved way for the return of American forces.
“We want them to feel in their remaining years that we recognize and value their service to our country,” added Undersecretary Ernesto Carolina of Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).
Tracey Betts of the US Department of Veterans Affairs also awarded the Congressional Gold Medals to Moses Medina, Jesus Lozarito, Braulio Cabrera, Clemente Mission, Flaviano Constantino, Ricarido Jaculina Sr., Ricardo Hechanova, Ciriaco Villar, Claro Daulo, Castor Gonzales, Eladio Peñaranda, Domingo Daylusan, Antero Armentia, Policarpio Amon, Hospicio Camino, Narciso Casaquite, Loreto Lazo, Enrique Mamon, and Maria Sirilan.
Macario Peralta, the general who led the Panay guerillas and later became a senator and defense secretary, were among the posthumous awardees.
Other posthumous awardees were Efrain Treñas, Santiago Defensor, Felomino Flamiano, Felipe Alagos, Jose Miraflores, and Adriano Pipardo.