Pagadian City, April 9, 2017 – The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division joined Zamboanga del Sur’s celebration of “Araw ng Kagitingan (Philippine Day of Valor)” at Pagadian City Hall grounds on April 9, 2017. “The Day of Valor” is observed annually in the Philippines on April 9 as a national holiday to commemorate the fall of Bataan during World War II.
BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTSTA AFP, Tabak Division Commander said in his keynote message in Filipino: “Sa pagdiriwang ng ika-75 taon ng Araw ng Kagitingan na may temang: “Parangal sa mga Beterano, Tungo sa Bayan na Nararapat sa mga Pilipino, mga Pilipino na Nararapat sa Bayan”, maipakikita natin kung paano tayo magiging karapat dapat sa kasarinlang tinatamasa natin ngayon at kung paano natin dapat ihandog ang ating mga sarili sa pagtulong sa bayan sa abot ng ating makakaya.” (In celebrating the 75th year of the Day of Valor with the theme: “Recognizing the War Veterans Towards a Worthy Country for Filipinos, Filipinos Worthy for the Country,” we can show how we can be deserving for the independence we enjoy today and how we can offer ourselves in helping our country.)
Acknowledging the World War II veterans present in the celebration, BGen. Bautista said in Filipino: “Salamat po, aming mga bayani sa inyong pakikipaglaban sa panahon ng digmaan. Ipagpapatuloy namin ang inyong ipinaglaban kaya naman kami ngayon ay may sariling bayang pinaglilingkuran. Lumaban kayo noon upang kami ngayon ay mabuhay ng mapayapa. Maraming salamat sa inyong gabay at inspirasyon tungo sa isang mapayapa at maunlad na bayang pilipinas. (We are grateful to you, our heroes, for what you have done during the times of war. We will continue what you have fought for. Because of what you have done, we now have our own country to serve. You fought then so that we can live peacefully today. Thank you for your guidance and inspiration toward a peaceful and progressive Philippines.”
Taking on this year’s celebration theme, BGen. Bautista said in Filipino: “Tayo ang mga bagong bayani sa henerasyon ngayon dahil nagbibigay tayo ng mga serbisyo para sa kapapayaan ng ating bansa. Ating tatandaan, kahit ano ang posisyon sa gobyerno o isang ornidaryong mamamayan, tayo ay pwedeng tawaging bayani kung nanaisin natin. (We are the new heroes in this present generation because we provide services to maintain peace in our land. Let us always remember that whatever position we have in the government or even if we are ordinary citizens, we can also be called hero if we have the desire to become one.”)
Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio H. Cerilles challenged the audience to take on the inspiration of veterans who gave priceless sacrifices during World War II. “Without them, there is no Philippines,” Cerilles said.
Pagadian City Mayor Romeo P. Pulmones stressed in his message that “The Day of Valor” epitomizes the legacy of Filipino’s courage and determination. “It speaks of our country and the qualities of its leaders who are deserving to Filipinos and Filipinos deserving of their country. These qualities are still in our hearts and minds. If we dig enough until we realize the sacredness of our heritage, we will see the glory and wonder of the promise of the Filipino vision,” Pulmones said.
Pagadian City Vice Mayor Ernesto A. Mondarte said the courage in the hearts of our soldiers today allows our flag, which symbolizes our dignity, to fly freely and makes our country secured and peaceful. “We celebrate the Filipino’s courage to protect our birthplace and courage which stood for compassion even in the face of violence,” Mondarte said.
Claudio R. Porio, District Commander of 1st Zamboanga Del Sur Veterans District said: “Araw ng Kagitingan commemorates the heroism of Filipinos and American soldiers. It is an important event that reminds us of our duty to fight for liberty against invaders. Let everyone become a part of what our heroes have fought for. I challenge every Filipino of this generation to be vigilant against foreign invader and keep the flames of patriotism. Everyone can be a hero even by a simple act of bringing smile to our fellow countrymen.”
Other officials of Pagadian City including the City Council and representatives from Zamboanga del Sur Philippine National Police Provincial Office (PRO9) and the Department of Local Government also participated in the program and the laying of floral offerings at the Veteran’s Marker in Pagadian City Hall.
Students from Pagadian City Science High School rendered a special intermission number of a musical play portraying the valor of Filipino soldiers from one generation to another.