Aquino lauds war veterans, Ayungin Marines
MANILA, Philippines – Amid territorial disputes with China, Pres. Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday reminded the public to never forget lessons of the past, noting that misunderstandings between two countries could only cause trouble.
“Hindi dapat makalimutan ang mga aral ng nakaraan. Noong Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig, nagkaroon ng hindi pagkakaunawaan ang ating mga bansa, at nasaksihan natin ang malagim na bunga nito,” he said in a speech at Mt. Samat Shrine in Pilar, Bataan during the Philippines’ celebration of the Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagitingan).
(We should never forget lessons of the past. During World War II, there were misunderstandings among our countries and we saw its horrible results.)
However, he said that despite being citizens of a small country, Filipinos are not afraid to fight for what is right.
“Noon pa man po, malinaw na sa mga Pilipino: Maliit man tayo, kung nasa tama tayo, lalaban tayo,” he said.
(Even then, it was clear among Filipinos: We may be a small country, but if we know we are right, we will fight.)
Although he did not mention the country’s maritime conflicts with China, the President lauded the soldiers who defended Ayungin Shoal, a disputed area in West Philippine Sea, and the rest of the country.
“Isipin na lang ninyo ang pambihirang sakripisyong ipinamalas ng kanilang grupo…Halos wala silang komunikasyon sa kanilang mga pamilya; may mga pagkakataon pang hinaharang ang ipinapadala nating mga gamit at pagkain sa kanila,” he said, referring to the group of Marines led by 1st Lt. Mike Pelotera.
(Just think of the extraordinary sacrifice displayed by their group…They do not have constant communication with their families; and there have been instances when the food and supplies we would send them were blocked.)
He said it was that reason why they invited the soldiers, together with war veterans, to be recognized during the country’s Day of Valor.
Aquino gave the statement more than a week after a Philippine ship delivering supplies to Pelotera’s group evaded the blockade of the Chinese Coast Guard.
In his speech, Aquino thanked the war veterans for their service to the country and assured them of continued support.
He said in 2013 alone, the government has spent P17 million for the medical care of 1,092 veterans. The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) was also able to support 2,059 students and is offering P36,000 per year as financial assistance to qualified dependents of war veterans.
Among the other topics he discussed were the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization and Capability Upgrade Program and the Pensioner’s Revalidation Program that ensures that only legitimate war veterans receive pension remittances.
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