January 11, 2018, Filed under Press Release

WREATH-LAYING RITES FOR WW-II VETERANS Second district Representative Leopoldo N. Bataoil (left), who was the honored guest speaker of the 73rd Lingayen Gulf Landings and 11th Pangasinan Veterans day, along with event host Pangasinan Governor Amado I. Espino, III (right) and military host, Col. Henry Robinson, Jr. of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, lead the wreath-laying ceremony on January 9 at the Veterans Memorial Park in Lingayen. Some 73 out of the total 275 living World War II veterans joined hundreds of guests who attended the annual affair. /Photo by Senielda Reyes/MGNO


LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – “Let us have a collective courage — like our veterans who bonded together during wartime — to protect and preserve what we have accomplished for our province.”


          This was the resonating call of Governor Amado I. Espino, III to Pangasinenses during the 73rd Lingayen Gulf Landings and 11th Pangasinan Veterans’ day commemoration held at the Veterans’ Memorial Park, here, on January 9, which was attended by less than a hundred Pangasinense World War II (WW-II) veterans, along with their families, local leaders, and officials and representatives from the bureaucracy and various sectors.


“The bravery of our veterans in the past should be our constant reminder and inspiration to live a courageous life now and in the future,” Governor Espino stressed in his testimonial of the bravery, sacrifice and patriotism of Filipinos, particularly Pangasinan freedom fighters and guerrillas of WW-II.


Acknowledging the previous provincial leadership of former governor and now 5th district Representative Amado T. Espino, Jr. for institutionalizing the Pangasinan  Veterans’ day in 2008 via Provincial Resolution No. 331-2007 passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the young Espino lauded his father for defending the country not from foreign invaders, but from foreign ideologies during his stint in the Philippine Constabulary.


The commemorative program had 2nd district Representative Leopoldo N. Bataoil, the House of Representatives’ Committee Chairperson on Veterans Affairs and Welfare, as honored guest and speaker.


Prior to the commemorative program, the 21-gun salute followed by the wreath-laying of Rep. Bataoil; Gov. Espino; Lt. Col. Ramon Antonio Bello, Cavalry General Services Corps of the Philippine Army; BGen. Restituto L. Aguilar (Ret. AFP), Veterans Memorial and Historical Division Chief of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO); Returned Services League of Australia President Roberto Barnes, and Peter Renton; and Carlito Bautista and Josefa Patalinghog, on behalf of the sons and daughters of WW-II veterans, stirred sanctity on the hallowed grounds of the Veterans Memorial Park.


SP members led by Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr. were also present during the twin events.


Exactly 73 years ago, or in January 9, 1945 when the historic landing of Allied Forces led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Lingayen Gulf took place, which evidently became the turning point of the liberation of the Philippines and the entire Pacific area from Japanese Occupation.


Lingayen–Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas celebrated a mass before the twin events.


Luncheon and medical mission for WW-II veterans and their families followed at the Sison Auditorium right after the commemorative program.


Based on records from the PVAO satellite office in Pangasinan, the total number of surviving WW-II veterans is dwindling. In 2016, there were 499 living veterans which went down to 370 last year and the latest record as of last month (December 2017) shows only 275.


/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca




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