From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): PVAO head hails unsung heroines of WW2
The role of women during the Second World War that resulted to the country’s liberation from the Japanese Forces must not be forgotten.
This was underscored by Retired Lt. Gen. Ernesto Carolina, administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) as he spoke during the 13th Iloilo Veterans Memorial Day held at the provincial capitol grounds here, Friday. The celebration has for its theme, “Honoring our Unsung Heroes.”
“When we say that we are celebrating the unsung heroes, let us also remember those women that also sacrificed, offered their lives and contributed to the freedom that we are enjoying today,” he said, stating that this occasion coincidentally is held as the country observes the National Women Month.
He explained that the Women Auxiliary Corps (WAC) started as Women Auxiliary Service (WAS) in Iloilo and organized by then Natividad Peralta, wife of Macario Peralta who led the revolt in Panay.
“Many of the unsung heroes of the war were women. They did their part attending to the wounded, gathering food to be brought to the frontline, gathering even intelligence and risking their lives, and a lot of them paid for it,” he stated.
Carolina, meanwhile, lauded the city government here for celebrating the Veteran’s Memorial Day. Iloilo, he said, is one of the “very few” areas in the country where the significant day for veterans is remembered.
“It is here in Iloilo where we have the most successful resistance movement in the Philippines during the war against the Japanese,” he said.
Carolina pointed out that the success of the movement here was boosted by the supportive political leadership. Peralta provided the military leadership and Tomas Confessor, governor during that period, provided political leadership, he added.
“We share in the pride of the people here. And I say that the pride has to be shared by all Filipinos because there is no such thing as regional pride but national pride,” he said.
The PVAO chief said that more than a hundred of the little more than 8,000 World War II guerillas who are still alive are from Iloilo.
“There is nothing that we can do to fully repay them. Maybe the least that we can do is make sure that the self-sacrifice, the patriotism, the love for country that they have displayed during the Second World War will be imbibed by our young people,” he emphasized.
“All we can really do is to extol and remember and pass the remembrance to our children in the hope they will emulate the bravery and gallantry if when the necessity of defending the country arises, said Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who hosted today’s celebration.
Commander Claro O. Daulo Sr, president of the 6th Military District World War II Veterans Association Inc. said that 1,421 veterans from Panay Island died defending the country.
Additional benefits, on the other hand, are provided by the Veterans Federation of the Philippines to their members, according to Rogelio Moran, regional vice president of the federation in Western Visayas.
These include burial assistance of PHP10,000 that will also benefit the spouse, PHP5,000 medical assistance, PHP50,000 cash incentive upon reaching 100 years old, scholarship for immediate family members of an indigent veteran and a PHP5 million livelihood fund for a district and post that can submit a viable proposal.
PVAO also provides the transfer of the PHP5,000 old-age pension to the veteran’s surviving spouse, PHP1,500 daily hospitalization benefit not to exceed 45 days and PHP20, 0000 burial assistance.
Meantime, veteran David A. Laibow also launched his book entitled ““Encounter on a Hillside” alongside an exhibit by artists Patrick Anthony D. Caballa and Lewis A. Alfaraz after the ceremony.
It was followed by a floral offering before the Gen. Macario Peralta Monument at the Sunburst Park, City Proper District and at the Philippine-American Cemetery along Commission Civil Street in Jaro District.
Friday’s celebration was a prelude to the March 18 celebration of the Liberation of Panay, Guimaras and Romblon.
Janette P. Faderan, head of the PVAO Western Visayas Field Service Extension Office, said that the celebration over the weekend will be highlighted by the distribution wheelchairs, canes and other benefits for the veterans and their surviving spouses.
Five veterans who have reached the age of 100 years old will also be given certificates and incentives.