Mt. Samat National Shrine, Bataan
9 April 2016
President Benigno S. Aquino III led the 74th annual commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan — his sixth and last time as the Head of State — to pay respects at the Dambana ng Kagitingan National Shrine in Mount Samat, Bataan.
The President, along with Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa and United States of America Ambassador Philip Goldberg, offered wreaths of yellow flowers and spoke about the sacrifice of the thousands of Filipino soldiers and civilians who perished during World War II. Both ambassadors also expressed their country’s commitment to promote peace and maintain strategic partnerships with the Philippines.
“Napakarami na nga po talagang dinaanan ng Pilipinas. Kayong mga beteranong dumaan sa maraming kaguluhan — kayong mga nasaksihan ang paulit-ulit na pagkakadapa at pagbangon ng ating bansa… Kayo higit sa lahat, ang makakapagsabi kung gaano kalalim ang naging positibong transpormasyong ating tinatamasa,” President Aquino said.
The Chief Executive also outlined his administration’s efforts to help surviving veteran soldiers and their families through the Pensioner Validation Program which identified legitimate beneficiaries; the Veterans Hospitalization Program that gave free hospitalization to 10,600 veterans and their families; the increased veterans’ daily hospitalization subsidy from PhP 1,200 to PhP 1,500; and the annual educational fund up to PhP 36,000 to the family members of veterans, among others.
The Dambana ng Kagitingan, which also houses a war museum complete with photographs and vintage war armaments, and the Mt. Samat Memorial Cross, located at the highest point of Mt. Samat, were built to commemorate the heroism of the Filipinos during World War II.