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13 war veterans given long-deserved tribute

Updated

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City – The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) paid tribute to 13 surviving veterans of World War II.

ALWAYS A SOLDIER—World War II veteran Geronimo Losaria Leal, who uses a wheelchair, insists in standing to take a souvenir shot with his medal and plaque at the Balantang Memorial National Shrine in Iloilo City.  Leal is one of 13 surviving veterans awarded during the March 18, 2018 commemoration of the 73rd Liberation of Panay, Guimaras and Romblon Islands. (Tara Yap / MANILA BULLETIN)

ALWAYS A SOLDIER — World War II veteran Geronimo Losaria Leal, who uses a wheelchair, insists in standing to take a souvenir shot with his medal and plaque at the Balantang Memorial National Shrine in Iloilo City. Leal is one of 13 surviving veterans awarded during the March 18, 2018 commemoration of the 73rd Liberation of Panay, Guimaras and Romblon Islands. (Tara Yap / MANILA BULLETIN)

PVAO Administrator Ernesto Carolina cited for their “honorable performance” Geronimo Losaria Leal, Benjamin Quesada Arguelles, Antero Pan-Agua Armentia, Pablo Alcosaba Balsamo, Meliton Porfillo Calcaben, Narciso Lesarte Casaquite, Gaudisio Albeza Elizalde, Juan Andres Fordan, Maria Solinap Sirilan, Ramon Parreno Celeste, Ana Dema-ala Lutero, Felix Magulladur Magullado, and Jose Dolendo Lobaton.

The awards were given during the commemoration Sunday of the 73rd Liberation of Panay, Guimaras, and Romblon Islands held in Iloilo City.

Leal, 90, told the Manila Bulletin he was very happy the government finally recognized their accomplishments.

“The government previously didn’t recognize us veterans, but I’m happy we are now being recognized,” expressed Leal, who hails from Lambuano town, Iloilo.

The wheelchair-bound Leal, who insisted in standing while posing for a picture with his medal and plaque, said he was one of the Filipino soldiers sent to Okinawa, Japan, to beef up American troops at the end of the war.

In his message, Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil said the House has approved a P15,000 increase in the veterans’ monthly pension. From P5,000 per month, the pension will become P20,000 if the Senate approves it.

Bataoil, a retired police general, ended Sunday’s commemoration by leading veterans and guests in singing the patriotic song “Bayan Ko.”

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