EXPRESSION OF ESTEEM. Confetti was showered among the two living veterans to show tribute for their bravery during the World War II.
Governor Joseph Cua in his message during the 73rd Catanduanes Liberation Day emphasized that we, as Catandunganons, must treasure the stories of our liberators.
The chief executive of the province also highlighted the importance of these stories to the schools as it will form part of our history. He said that with the help of these living war veterans who can tell their own experiences during the Japanese Occupation, we can make a detailed story that can value the history and culture of the Filipino people, particularly the Catandunganons.
“Sa paagi kaini, pwede ta po na maitao ang mga nakolekta asin natapos na research sa mga eskwelahan asin maibali ini sa pagtukdo,” he stressed. “Makakasigurado kita na talagang dai po makakaringaw ang satuyang mga masunod na henerasyon.”
Addressing the problem that too little was known about the Catanduanes Liberators, he said that the celebration was held uniquely from the past celebrations of the Liberation Day, to make us realize that we should not forget about them.
“Tabangan po kami nindo na mapangalagaan ta ang istorya nin satong mga liberators. It would be great disrespect to their valor and their sacrifices if this great part of our history will be lost,”Gov. Cua said.
“To the families and representative of our liberators, I thank you, because your presence here today is a manifestation of your value of our history,” he added.
The event was held last February 8 which gave tribute to our liberators especially to Sgt. Tomas C. Gil and SSgt. Cenon Camano, both 93 years old, which are two of the living veteran awardees.
WREATH-EN ON THE WALL. A wreath was laid on the wall on the World War II Memorial Fountain in Virac as part of the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony during the 73rd Liberation Day of Catanduanes.
Sgt. Tomas C. Gil was a World War II veteran during the Japanese Occupation and was born on July 4, 1925 at Sta. Cruz, Virac, Catanduanes. He volunteered to join the organization and on August 1942. He was inducted and appointed as sergeant in the said organization under the leadership of Captain Ernesto Barba and likewise, Lt. Alberto David.
On the month of February 1945, the final assault was hatched and he was assigned in the frontline during the fight in the Liberation of the Virac Garrison and on the second day of the battle. He was wounded and was hospitalized at the Calatagan Emergency Hospital. He was released and returned to active duty on March 10, 1945.
“Satisfied,” answered Sgt. Tomas Gil when asked about how he felt when his valor was recognized. He also advised the youth to avoid vices and take care of themselves to live a longer life.
Meanwhile, SSgt. Cenon Camano was also one of the World War II veterans during the Japanese Occupation. He was also wounded at that time during the Liberation of Virac Garrison and was hospitalized in a hospital in Leyte, accompanied by Col. Salvador Arambulo Rodolfo who is also known as “Phantom”.
Concepcion Camano De Leon, the daughter of SSgt. Cenon Camano, was thankful for the Cua administration for the recognition of his father’s bravery.
“Sana start sa year na ito, sana maging, taun-taon maulit ang ganitong program o recognition sa mga nagserbi hindi lang sa banwa ng Virac kundi sa probinsya ng Catanduanes,” she insisted.
Col. Sorreta honored the war veterans as they are the living symbol of the liberties we enjoy today, living legacies of the courage and bravery of the Filipino people and the living reminder of what is noble and right in fighting for our most sacred and hallowed values.
“Our fight for peace and freedom should not be left relegated to a chapter of history. This fight should continue, if necessary, every day of our lives, until the Filipino is liberated from poverty and despair,” he reminded.
Ret. Gen. Aguilar, the guest of honor said, “Sa akin, kulang pa nga itong parangal na binigay sa kanila kasi sa kanila, yung buhay ang puhunan nila para yung pagnanasa lang na maliberate yung Catanduanes”.
He stressed that if it was not because of the sacrifices of the Filipino war veterans during the World War II, perhaps, we would not be enjoying the independence we have now.
Catanduanes Police Provincial Office under PSSupt Felix N. Servita Jr., Regional Chief of Region 12- Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (12RCIDG) attended the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial Fountain in Virac along with Hon. Joseph C. Cua, the Provincial Governor; Gen. Restituto L. Aguilar (ret.), Chief of Veterans Memorial and Historical Division of Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City; Col. Jose Sorreta (ret.), the District President of Catanduanes, Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP) Regional President and Accredited Liaison Officer; PBM Jose Romeo Francisco; PBM Giovanni A. Balmadrid and employees of the Provincial Capitol.
Furthermore, the families of posthumous veteran awardees were also given appreciation. Some of these posthumous veteran awardees were Sgt. Alfredo V. Abundo, Pfc. Francisco R. Templonuevo, Lt. Jose A. Tablizo, Sgt. Pelagio S. Arcilla, Sgt. Dominador C. Laynes, T/5 Edilberto G. Arcilla, 2Lt. Godofredo T. Abundo, Col. Jose G. Ignacio and Vicente S. Arcilla.
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) through Ms. Ma. Joan Grace Celera, awarded glass plaques to the two living and nine posthumous veterans. The provincial government also gave their plaques of commendation to Sgt. Gil, SSgt. Camano and family of Col. Salvador Rodolfo to receive his award.
Student leaders from Virac Pilot Elementary School (VPES) and Catanduanes National High School (CNHS) along with Jeric Idanan, the Federated College Student Council (FCSC) President of Catanduanes State University (CSU) gave tribute to two of our living veteran awardees.
Moreover, six wheelchairs were also given by PVAO to selected war veterans. A medical mission was also held in their provincial office which was attended by 40 participants.
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