Today, we pay tribute to the courage and heroism of our World War II veterans as we observe "Araw ng Kagitingan." Also known as "Bataan Day, Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) is a national public holiday in the Philippines.
On this day in 1942, Allied Forces fought the invading armies in Bataan, upsetting the latter's timetable and affording the Allied Forces time to prepare for the long fight ahead. Depleted food and supplies, medicines and ammunitions, however, compelled around 76,000 Filipinos, Chinese-Filipinos, and Americans to surrender on this day, which came to be called "The Fall of Bataan."
The prisoners of war were forced to endure the infamous march from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga, where they were transported by train to Camp O'Donnell, Tarlac, which is known today as Capas National Shrine. Thousands perished due to dehydration, heat stroke, starvation, and diseases. This event came to be known as the Bataan March.
The theme of this year's Araw ng Kagitingan is "Ang Beterano: Sigla at Inspirasyon ng Kabataan Tungo sa Tuwid na Landas." Organizers of the Araw ng Kagitingan events hope that the young will draw inspiration from the courage, leadership, and selfless sacrifice and service of our country's war heroes and veterans.
We congratulate the Philippine Veterans Administration, its officers, staff and members, led by Administrator Lieutenant General Ernesto G. Carolina, Deputy Administrator Atty. Romeo S. Lazo, Veterans Affairs Head Major General Delfin N. Lorenzana, Veterans Memorial Medical Center Director Dr. Nona P. Legaspi, Director Nostradamus A.Villanueva, and the Division Chiefs, on the occasion of Araw ng Kagitingan 2013. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. Mabuhay ang Bayaning Pilipino! Mabuhay ang Beteranong Pilipino!