The Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the importance of honoring the deeds of Filipino war veterans and urged the public to draw strength and inspiration from their courage as the country continues its fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
To instill their contribution to the country in the minds of the younger generation, DepEd – in cooperation with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) – conducted a virtual symposium on the significance and relevance of the 79th anniversary of Araw ng Kagitingan and Philippine Veterans Week.
In a statement issued Tuesday, April 20, DepEd said that the virtual symposium was hosted by its Region III office and Schools Division Office (SDO) of Bataan and Balanga.
“The annual commemoration aims to preserve and memorialize the principles, ideals, and deeds of our war veterans as a means to promote patriotism and love of country, especially among students,” DepEd said.
Under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Briones, Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs Tonisito MC Umali said that these kinds of celebrations and commemorations that are “very meaningful.”
With this year’s theme, “Kagitingan ay Gawing Gabay, Pandemya ay Mapagtagumpayan,” the celebration also served as a reminder that through absolute courage and determination, “the ongoing battle against COVID-19 can be won much like how Filipino veterans defended the country during the war.”
To reinforce the commemoration, DepEd also held national competitions in line with the Araw ng Kagitingan and Philippine Veterans Week, including a National Creative Painting Competition for Grades 4 to 6 and a National Oratorical Contest for Grades 7 to 10.
Meanwhile, NHCP Chairman Dr. Rene Escalante underscored the importance of the celebration especially at a time when the country is grappling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ngayon humuhugot tayo ng lakas ng loob sa alaala ng mga Pilipinong nag-alay ng buhay para sa bayan upang harapin ang COVID-19 pandemic. “Now, we draw courage from the memory of the Filipinos who sacrificed their lives for the country to face the COVID-19 pandemic,” Escalante said.
“Ang kagitingang ipinamalas ng ating mga beterano at iba pang mga kasama ay nakikita natin ngayon sa ating mga doctor, nurse, tauhan sa pagamutan, mga unipermadong hanay, mga manggagawa at mga lingkod bayan, patuloy silang lumalaban (The courage shown by our veterans and other comrades we see today in our doctors, nurses, hospital staff, uniformed ranks, workers and public servants, they continue to fight),” he added.
Escalante also commended DepEd for organizing the said activity. “Bilang isang bansa, patuloy tayong lumaban hanggang makamit natin ang ating ganap na kaligtasan mula sa COVID-19 virus. Sa tulong ng Maykapal at sa inspirasyon ng Bataan at Corregidor, kakayanin natin ito (As a nation, we will continue to fight until we are all safe from the COVID-19 virus. With the help of God and the inspiration of Bataan and Corregidor, we can do this,” he added.