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45 World War II heroes to be feted at Philippine Veterans Week

/ 04:53 PM April 01, 2016

Forty-five Filipino World War II veterans will be honored for their heroism at the Philippine Veterans Week starting April 5.

Retired general Restituto Aguilar, chief of the memorial and historical division of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, said on Friday that the number of awardees is higher compared to last year with 30. Twenty five of the veterans will be awarded posthumously.

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“All of them have significant of contributions during World War II that helped liberate the country,” he said in a briefing.

“More than the monetary value, this is a way of thanking them while they are still alive. What is important is they are recognized for their contribution during a time that the country needed their service,”

Aguilar said that in three years, the thousands of living veterans will be reduced to hundreds.

“As much as possible they should be acknowledged, most of them are bedridden. There are 9,500 veterans still alive and the casualty rate is 3,500 per annum. In three years, there will only be hundreds left,” he said.

Aguilar lamented that the youths today are not aware of the heroism of the veterans during the World War II and they want to impart to them that their selfless sacrifices must be emulated in our everyday lives to achieve lasting peace or progress.

“Because of the advancement of technology, there is less focus on the valor of our heroes… That’s why we are trying to help bring consciousness of the importance of their sacrifices,” he said.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin will lead the onset of the Philippine Veterans Week on April 5 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Other activities include a review in honor of the veterans, a battalion-sized contingent from the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) will perform the review and veterans are paraded and accorded honors at par with high-ranking military officers and visiting dignitaries who are entitled to such honor in Fort Bonifacio on the same day.  The tribute to Filipino heroes will be held on April 7 on Corregidor Island. President Benigno Aquino III will lead the celebration of the “Araw ng Kagitingan” at Mt. Samat in Bataan on April 9.

The weeklong observance is not only for the war veterans but also an opportunity to remember those who rendered honorable military service in defending the country in times of war or peace to gratefully acknowledge their contributions in preserving our sovereignty and defending our national security, Aguilar said. RAM

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TAGS: Heroes, Philippine Veterans Week, veterans, World War II
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