By Shirley Matias Pizarro
BALANGA CITY, BATAAN — Bataan Gov. Albert S. Garcia has announced the cancellation of all pre-event activities commemorating the 78th Araw ng Kagitingan in the province in the wake of the COVID-19 threat.
However, the observance of the national event on April 6 at the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Mt. Samat) shrine in Pilar, Bataan is yet to be officially cancelled by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the lead agency in-charge of the observance of the Araw ng Kagitingan event. The province of Bataan plays host to this annual historical milestone.
Araw ng Kagitingan is a national holiday commemorating the Fall of Bataan. It pays tribute to the bravery of the Filipino and American soldiers who fought for freedom during World War II. The president of the Philippines is always the special guest in this event.
According to Bataan Tourism head Alice Dizon Pizarro, they have decided to cancel several events leading to the Bataan Day rites at Mt. Samat. She said, “these are the following: the awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honour by a representative of the United States (US) Senate set for April 5, the parade of floats and the awarding of plaques and certificates to veterans also on April 5; the historical symposium set to happen on March 18; the Historical Quiz Bee set for April 2 and 3; the Padyakan bike enthusiasts event set for April 4 and the trade fair “Galing sa Bataan” set on April 1-6 at the Capitol grounds showcasing Bataan’s products and crafts.
The announcement comes in the wake of about 50 percent drop in all tourism-related activities in the province of Bataan because of the COVID-19 threat.
Pizarro said, “the decrease is not unique to Bataan. We have received reports of cancellations of reservations for both big and small activities in nearby tourism destinations like Subic and Clark. That has a direct effect on us because most of the time, tourists who flock to Subic and Clark also visit Bataan for tourism purposes. There is a pervading downward trend to tourism everywhere.”