AFP salutes ‘modern day heroes’

Published April 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) paid tribute to “modern day heroes” who continue to fight the “unconventional” enemy as the nation marked on Thursday the 78th anniversary celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor). The rites were held in the midst of an ongoing Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to stave off the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maj. Gen. Felimon T. Santos, AFP EastMinCom Commander (AFP EastMinCom / MANILA BULLETIN)
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.

“Today, we shall reflect on how our forebears showed extraordinary heroism, ardent patriotism and selflessness, and seek to find within each of us the will to carry on in this modern warfare,” said Genetal Felimon Santos, AFP chief of staff, Santos, who had contracted the disease last month but has since recovered,

The military chief said every soldier, airman, sailor and marine continues to draw strength from the sacrifices made by those before them “in order to achieve peace and security in our country.”

“Our veterans bestowed to our generation the treasure of a peaceful life and it is up to us to continue fighting for it,” he emphasized.

Santos said the military continues to manifest the same resolve to win all kinds of battle on all fronts: against a major pandemic, communist groups, terrorists, and other enemies of the state.

“The AFP salutes our modern day heroes who continue to fight as one in the name of patriotism and the undeniable love for humanity,” he said.

“Let us continue to work hand in hand, confident that we will emerge triumphant as one nation against any kind of crisis,” he concluded.

The military has been enforcing measures to prevent the further spread of the virus, and partnering with various organizations to deliver relief aid to communities severely affected by the effects of the enhanced community quarantine measures.

Araw ng Kagitingan is a public holiday which commemorates the epic struggle of Filipino soldiers who defended Bataan against Japanese troops during World War II until its eventual fall on April 9, 1942.

It was also during this period when the infamous “Death March” happened, as the Japanese army ordered a forced march on 76,000 captured Filipino and American soldiers. The prisoners of war covered 140 kilometers of torturous foot travel from Mariveles, Bataan to Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac. Estimates range from 6,000 to 18,000 deaths among the starved, sick and beaten soldiers who endured the march.

Republic Act 3022 was passed in 1961 declaring April 9 of every year as Bataan Day until Executive Order 203 and 292 were issued in 1987, renaming the holiday to Araw ng Kagitingan. (Martin A. Sadongdong)