By Francis Wakefield
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. on Tuesday (April 9) paid tribute to the brave Filipino soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Fall of Bataan 77 years ago.
In a statement, Galvez said it was only fitting to recognize the martyrdom of all of those who gave up their lives during one of the darkest chapters of our nation’s history through the country’s commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) which is celebrated April 9 of each year.
“Let us remember the gallantry of these heroes who even in the face of death, demonstrated to our nation and the whole world their immeasurable love for our motherland,” Galvez said.
The Presidential Peace Adviser said several decades have already passed since that fateful day, but its lessons still resonate up to today.
“We should draw inspiration from our fallen brothers who have displayed extraordinary courage during those trying times,” Galvez said.
“As we commemorate the ultimate sacrifice of our heroes today, I would like to call on my fellow countrymen to work hand in hand as we pursue our collective goal of achieving enduring peace.”
“I encourage everyone to do their part in strengthening the bond of unity and cooperation among us, particularly in pushing forward the Philippine peace process,” he added.
Galvez expressed belief that it was only through our concerted efforts and deep love for country that we can make our dreams for our nation a reality.
He said these aspirations are best reflected in the successful implementation of peace agreements with our Moro brothers and sisters in Mindanao.
“We are also making major strides in our initiatives to address the communist insurgency problem through the national government’s whole-of-nation approach,” Galvez said.
“Times may have changed but the indomitable spirit of our heroes continues to live within our hearts and minds.”
“May they continue to serve as an inspiration to us all as we face the challenges of nation-building,” he added.
According to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Tuesday’s celebration of the 77th Araw ng Kagitingan (ANK) in Bataan was the culmination of the week-long observance of the 2019 Philippine Veterans Week (PVW) which has a theme – “Sakripisyo ng Beterano ay Gunitain, Gawing Tanglaw ng Kabataan Tungo sa Kaunlaran”.
PVAO said this year’s celebration “underscores the sacrifices of our war veterans and urges our youth to draw inspiration from this selfless act of giving oneself so that they too can contribute to the advancement of this nation.”
The annual Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) is a national observance in the Philippines which commemorates the fall of Bataan during World War II.
PVAO said the national observance aims to revive the principles of “Kagitingan” or the culture of heroism and love for country, strengthen the Filipino people’s collective sense of national pride and patriotism, and inspire the youth who will eventually take on the mantle of being our future defenders and leaders, imbibing the valor and ideals of our veterans as their guiding principles.
“The purpose of history is to learn from it. A nation ignorant of its past after all, will never truly progress. This is the very reason events and commemorations such as these are celebrated, especially on a national level, in order to emphasize the role and efforts of our veterans in contributing to the freedom and democracy our nation enjoys today,” PVAO said in a statement.
“These events do not only value and honor the memory of the wars fought before, but more so, the people who were there when it happened. We live freely, because they fought bravely,” it added.
In accordance to Proclamation No. 466, s. 1989, the Philippine Veterans Week is celebrated from April 5 to 11 every year to promote, preserve, and memorialize the principles, ideas, and deeds of our war veterans as a means to enhance patriotism and love for country, especially among the youth of the land.
Meanwhile, April 9 of every year is designated by Executive Order No. 203, s.1986 as Araw ng Kagitingan to honor the Filipino men and women who served and defended the Philippines during war and peacetime.