By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Wednesday urged the country’s defense and veterans affairs officials to consider releasing documentaries detailing the exploits of the country’s war heroes that have either been forgotten or have never been told.
During a budget hearing at the Senate, Angara told the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) to consider producing documentaries on the historical and modern-day heroes, which he said would have a greater impact on its target audience.
Currently, the (PVAO) has been undertaking efforts to inculcate love of country among children through its Love of Country Builders program.
The program involves the construction of shrines and other facilities, the commemoration of historical events, and the publication of books and articles about the heroic deeds of the veterans.
“Video is a very potent and effective medium. Unti-unti na nakakalimutan ang mga nagawa ng ating mga ninuno para sa ating bayan. Karamihan sa mga kabataan natin ay wala nang alam tungkol sa mga sakripisyo nila (The people are slowly forgetting what our ancestors did for the nation. Most young people have no idea about their sacrifices),” said Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee.
“I believe that video is a very potent and effective medium to reintroduce their heroic deeds to our children,” he said.
The senator stressed these documentaries could be shown during holidays such as the Araw ng Kagitingan and in other occasions as necessary.
Angara pointed out how other countries, such as the United States, have been very effective with their advertising campaigns on the military.
These advertisements are very well produced and instill a lot of pride in the different service branches of the military. Many of the ads motivated civilians to enlist in the military.
Angara said he believes there’s a lot of material for Filipino documentary makers to gather inspiration from— ranging from the heroes of World War II to the heroes of the Marawi siege.
PVAO Administrator Ernesto Carolina Carolina, however, said, that coming up with materials on World War II was more difficult as most of the documents, messages, and even diaries during that period were taken by the Americans.
But the PVAO has been able to retrieve around two-thirds of these documents and have converted these into seven books. Since most of the books on World War II were written by Americans, Carolina said they saw it fit to come out with a different account of the events, told from the viewpoint of the Filipinos.
But the lack of funding due to budget cuts implemented by the Executive department has slowed down the PVAO’s efforts. Carolina said the PVAO needs financial support to continue the Love of Country Builders program.
Carolina lamented that less than one percent of the PVAO’s budget goes to the Love of Country Builders program.
According to him, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has removed the congressional initiatives in the national budget, including the support for the Love of Country Builders program “so slowly the gains of the past are being eroded.”