72nd Dumaguete Liberation Day; Filipino WWII veterans conferred with honors
“If not of the World War II veterans, Dumaguete would not have been liberated in 1945,” said Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo in his speech during the 72nd Dumaguete Liberation Day celebration yesterday at the Silliman University gymnasium.
During the ceremony, Remollo also rendered a salute to the veterans, saying he is a grandson of a veteran, Dr. Jose Rendon Remollo.
The mayor said the least that the city can do is to honor the veterans’ fearlessness, sacrifices, and bravery in liberating Dumaguete from Japanese occupation, 72 years ago.
“But the bigger challenge for Dumaguete right now is the struggle to liberate the people from the clutches of poverty, lawless violence, and corruption, among others,” Remollo told the crowd.
“It is for this reason that, under the Remollo administration, one of the programs is to provide informal settlers of the city decent homes in order to give meaning and substance to the sacrifices made by the veterans during World War II,” he said.
“On the government side, the least that officials can do is to be upright, and prevent employees from the temptation of corruption and illegal drugs,” Remollo said.
The 72nd anniversary celebration activities were held inside the SU gym because Silliman was also liberated when the university was vacated by the Japanese occupation forces who were forced to go to the mountains. For SU president Ben Malayang III, it was a responsibility and an honor to host the activities.
Present during the anniversary celebration were representatives from the Veterans Federation of the Philippines and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, including the sons and daughters of veterans in the city and the province.
Meanwhile, the VFP-Sons and Daughters Association Inc., headed by lawyer Joel Llosa, said that commitments made by representatives of the PVAO on increasing veterans’ pension from P5,000 to P20,000 is not new but welcomed pronouncements made by the representative of the office who graced the event.
The VFP was represented by Manuel Carreon, in behalf of its president Colonel Bonifacio de Gracia. He said there are plans that all children of the veterans will soon become auxiliary members who can also avail themselves of some benefits granted to their elders, such as education and medical assistance.
Brigadier General Restituto Aguilar, representing Undersecretary Ernesto Carolina—also the administrator of PVAO—told Dumaguete and Negros Oriental veterans the proposed increase in their monthly pension was filed in the previous Congress but was shelved due to various problems besetting the country at the time.
Aguilar said that, to date, PVAO is trying to find allies in Congress for the refiling of the bill, in consonance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements and the support of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Conferred with recognition in this year’s celebration were only 12 veterans, the oldest of whom was 102 years old, down from 19 veterans honored last year. Llosa said their numbers are getting fewer every year. By Juancho R. Gallarde (The Freeman) – April 27, 2017 – 12:00am