By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – Lone District Representative Mark Go said that the Lower Houses has approved on third and final reading House Bill 3721 recognizing the importance of September 3 that marked the end of World War II in Baguio, where General Tomoyuki Yamashita signed the formal surrender documents.
Go said it is befitting to remember the day as Victory Day not just in Baguio, but the entire country as it marked the end of the second World War in the Pacific.
He said, the bill was forwarded to the Senate, in time for September 3, 2018. The city council last year approved an ordinance institutionalizing the celebration and commemoration of the event on September 3, 1945 when General Yamashita signed the surrender papers following his capture in Kiangan, Ifugao on September 2,1945. He was later flown to Baguio City for the formal ceremony.
In the city, as part of the first celebration, the city government recognized four war veterans for their service to the country during the war at the Veterans Park, here.
Awarded were Sergeant Cecillia Torres, who is now 92 years old she joined the guerrilla movement on March 19, 1944 as a Private in the Women’s Auxiliary Service (WAS) Unit that served as a medical aid for the “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines-Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL).
Private First Class Ernesto Luis, now 90, joined the war on May 2, 1944 as a military courier under the “B” Company of the 1st Battalion, 66th Infantry of the USAFIP-NL. His unit was tasked to defend Northern Luzon and it participated in a number of tactical engagements against the Japanese Forces it that retreated to the north.
The two other veterans who were not able to attend due failing health condition were Private First Class (PFC) Timoteo Boado, 89, who served as rifleman upon his enlistment with the 523rd Military Police Company of the Philippines Scout and 2ndLieutenant Eduardo Peralta, 87, who joined the guerrilla forces under the Headquarters Company, Military Police Battalion of the USAFIP-NL at a very young age.
The celebration was in line with the city council resolution approved last year institutionalizing the observance of Victory Day to give more meaning and significance to the event that transpired in Baguio, this was upon the request of the United States Army Forces in the Philippines-North Luzon Inc. Baguio-Benguet chapter (USAFIP-NL-BBC) which stressed the importance of the date to the city.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Congressman MarK Go and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Undersecretary retired Gen. Ernesto Carolina led the wreath-laying ceremony to honor the soldiers who died in the war.
Congressman Mark Go has re-filed Domogan’s bill which the Congress approved on third and final reading two weeks ago. The bill declares September 3 of every year as victory day for the brave Filipino allied soldiers and is now with the Senate.
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Undersecretary retired Gen. Ernesto Carolina in his message said “this victory day is very important part of our history. Yesterday we celebrated in Kiangan, Ifugao, the capture of General Yamashita on September 2, that is connected to what we are celebrating today (September 3), the formal surrender of Yamashita in Baguio City,” said Carolina in his message.
He said, the victory that lead to this day started from the victory from Balete Pass (now Dalton Pass) in Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, because our guerrillas had to isolate the source of logistics, especially the food for General Yamashita and cut-off communication in the area.