10 living war vets honored by AFP
For their “unparalleled service and selfless sacrifices,” 10 living war veterans were honored Sunday morning by the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the “Review in Honor of the Veterans” ceremony at the Philippine Army Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
The AFP gave a snappy salute to their forebears and the “nation’s senior defenders” as part of the annual observance of the Philippine Veterans Week.
Among those who received plaques and medals of recognition for their service during the World War II were Col. Francisco T. San Miguel, Sgt. Jose Felix F. Caparas, Sgt. Manuel C. Carpio, Col. Francisco S. Tamondong, Pfc. Pilar Hipolito de Ocampo, Maj. Jesse M. Baltazar, Pvt. Manuel T. Cannu, Pfc. Valentin R. Ege, TSgt. Silvestre D. Sarmiento and Col. Catalino D. Ibañez.
Recognition was also given to the families of posthumous awardees Pvt. Francisco S. Cordoba Sr., lawyer Gamaliel A. Cordoba, Lt. Commander Vicente A. Perez, Sgt. Domingo G. Padiernos, MSgt. Jesus V. delos Santos, Lt. Gen. Jaime Delos Santos, Lt. Col. Saturnino R. Silva Sr., MGen. Calixto M. Duque, AFP and 3Lt. Leopoldo G. Bataoil.
Speaking before the veterans and their families, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. said the awardees embody the traits that helped the military organization become “a more capable, more professional and more reliable Armed Forces serving the Filipino people.”
“The road they took are surely difficult but they have victories they can tell. I hope we will all be inspired by the examples of the awardees who have shown great courage and service,” Catapang said in his welcome speech.
The review is an annual tradition of the Armed Forces, wherein men and women in the uniformed service show their respect to veterans for their “unparalleled services, selfless sacrifices and numerous accomplishments.”
The veterans were paraded around the Hunters-ROTC Guerrilla Field and given honors by a battalion-sized contingent from the AFP.
Receiving the award for his uncle and namesake, Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, also vice chair of the House committee on veterans affairs, was also the event’s special guest and keynote speaker.
In his speech, Bataoil remembered his World War II veteran uncle, whose body has not been found by the family until now.
“His body was never recovered in the hills of Bataan,” said Bataoil, who claimed to have been raised living up to the ideals of his uncle.
He also noted that 3Lt. Bataoil served as his inspiration when he became a policeman and climbed the command chain ladder, becoming the director of the PNP Regional Office I during the latter part of his career as a law enforcer.
In addressing the veteran awardees, Bataoil also read the privilege speech of Bataan 1st District Rep. Herminia B. Roman, chair of the House committee on veterans affairs, which appealed to the legislative body to continue to push for the increase of benefits and services to veterans and their beneficiaries.
Earlier, Lt. Gen. Hernando Delfin Carmelo Iberri, 56th Commanding General of the Philippine Army, led the sunrise ceremony, the traditional start of the Veteran’s Week, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig.
“To this day, our modern-day soldiers continue to offer the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless, they will continue to preserve the national pride that these honorable veterans gained for every Filipino,” Iberri said in his speech.
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