Mt. Samat National Shrine, Pilar, Bataan
9 April 2015

In order to promote, preserve and memorialize the principles, ideals and heroic deeds of the Filipino war veterans, President Benigno S. Aquino III led the 73rd Commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan at Mt. Samat National Shrine in Pilar, Bataan with the theme: “Ipunla ang Kagitingan sa Kabataan, Ihanda ang Beterano ng Kinabukasan”.

The President, together with Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa and United States of America Ambassador Philip Goldberg, offered wreaths of flowers at the Mt. Samat National Shrine in honor of the fallen heroes whose sacrifice earned the country’s freedom.

In his speech, President Aquino recognized the courage and patriotism of the war veterans while assuring them that the government is looking after their rights and needs. He cited that from 2010 until today, 8,760 veterans received medical assistance and 15,571 of their dependents benefited from the Educational Benefits of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO). The digitalization of the veterans’ records also led to faster delivery of benefits.

Likewise, the President challenged the current generation to keep the peace and continue working towards national development.

Seventy-three years ago, when the defense of the country, located in the fortified city of Bataan, fell under the force of the Japanese troops, about 60,000 Filipino and 11,000 American soldiers were forced to march in the relentless heat of summer from Bataan to the Japanese concentration camp in Capas, Tarlac. An estimated 11,000 had perished during this 100 kilometer journey, thus it was given the name The Bataan Death March.

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