Medical ward for WWII vets set up in Dagupan City | Inquirer News

Medical ward for WWII vets set up in Dagupan City

By: - Correspondent / @yzsoteloINQ
/ 05:36 AM January 14, 2024

Medical ward for WWII vets set up in Dagupan City

A WAY TO THANK HEROES | Within the government-run Region I Medical Center in Dagupan City is a new section especially allotted for the country’s aging and dwindling World War II veterans. Inaugurated on Jan. 10, 2024. the ward was named in honor of the late Lt. Col. Jaime Arzadon. (Photo by RAY ZAMBRANO)

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan, Philippines — A space where gratitude is expressed through health care awaits World War II veterans and their dependents in Pangasinan province.

Following a moving celebration of the anniversary of the Lingayen Gulf Landings in Pangasinan’s capital town of Lingayen on Jan. 9, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) unveiled a P17-million health-care facility dedicated to the aging veterans and their families.


Named after a local war hero, the Jaime Arzadon Veterans Ward at Region I Medical Center (RIMC) in Dagupan City consists of 15 beds and an intensive care unit (ICU), and cutting-edge medical equipment worth P6 million.


READ: Pangasinan war vets urge youth: Be our future defenders

3rd veterans’ ward

RIMC director Dr. Roland Mejia said the medical center had enough medical personnel to cater to the needs of the veterans, as it will be staffed by 700 doctors and 1,200 nurses.

PVAO Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu said the office decided to establish the ward in Dagupan because it had become difficult for the aging war veterans to travel to Quezon City where Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) is located.

Outside the VMMC, the RIMC facility is the third veterans’ ward in the country, with the other two at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro and at Batangas City Medical Center.

The late Lt. Col. Jaime Arzadon.


Dr. Paula Paz Sydiongco, director of the Department of Health in the Ilocos region, said the new ward was part of the agency’s continuing commitment to provide the highest quality of medical care to the veterans.

“We will ensure that the respect, honor, and comprehensive medical attention they deserve with the utmost compassion and dedication will be observed,” she said during the opening of the facility on Jan. 10.


Sydiongco added: “We hope that this ward will not only provide them with medical treatment but will also serve as a sanctuary as they navigate the challenges of their post-service life.”

Arzadon’s son, Jaime, thanked the PVAO and other agencies “for the privilege to stand before you [to receive] the honor and prestige given to [my] father.”

‘Torchbearers of tomorrow’

Vice Gov. Mark Lambino said the opening was timely as it was held a day after the celebration of one of the most important turning points in Philippine history, the Lingayen Gulf Landing of US Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

The landing on Jan. 9, 1945, which fulfilled MacArthur’s “I shall return” promise, marked the beginning of the liberation of Luzon from the Japanese forces.

Despite their age, 12 wheelchair-bound veterans attended the 79th anniversary celebration of the landings as well as the 17th Pangasinan Veterans’ Day at the War Memorial Park near the provincial capitol in Lingayen.

During the occasion, the veterans called on the younger generations to preserve their legacy of freedom and be the “torchbearers of tomorrow.”

According to the PVAO, the ward is named in honor of Lt. Col. Arzadon, who is recognized as the founding member and leader of the Army of the Agno (after the local river), a guerrilla organization that operated in Pangasinan under the National Volunteers of the Philippines.


When the war broke out in the Pacific in December 1941, the Army of the Agno was assembled and incorporated into the United States Army Forces in the Far East, where it was mobilized as an infantry unit.

Arzadon was known for a particular act of heroism, documented on Dec. 25, 1941, when he shot and killed an officer of the Japanese armored unit then advancing toward San Manuel, Pangasinan. It delayed the enemy’s movement and gave local forces stationed along the Agno River more time to prepare for the incoming invaders.

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In April 1942, Azardon’s group repulsed a Japanese contingent in a three-day battle, securing Tayug, San Nicolas, San Quintin, Natividad, and other towns in Pangasinan.

On Aug. 29, 1945, Arzadon was killed in action on his way to attend a military conference in Dagupan.

TAGS: Jaime Arzadon Veterans Ward, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, war veterans, World War II

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