By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
During the 2nd World War my late father and his father were soldiers in the USAFFE. Early in my youth, Dad would tell us stories and I gathered that he was in the engineering brigade and that their over all commanding officer was general Jonathan M. Wainwright. He sounded so proud of him except for a note of despair when he also told us that it was this general who surrendered the Filipino-US forces in Bataan. Nevertheless, when my late brother was born on April 09, a little more than a decade after the fall of Bataan, he was named Jonathan, after the good general.
Today the country commemorates April 9 as “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valor) and in the history of this day in 1942, was the Fall of Bataan to the invading Japanese Imperial Army, then followed by the Death March of Filipino and American soldiers who surrendered or captured by the Japanese from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac.
My father related that he and his unit were in Bataan clearing and building bridges for the tanks to reach the front, and they dug trenches and shot their guns until they too were in the frontlines. He said, they saw some of the Dangwa busses arrive from the Cordillera with the Igorot scouts -whom they recognized being of the same built like them, and some US trained scouts. They fought side by side with them until they were captured only to discover the US commanders had surrendered days before.
Hoarded and forced to march north the “Baguio Boys”, schoolmates, ‘the Apaches’ “and most of the igorot scouts,” he said, single mindedly sought each other secretly thru the march to escape and go home together. A few of them died along the way but his school group arrived home, “mostly half dead,” he described.
Most, if not all of them later went back to the fight as guerrillas, and again they were together in the liberation of Baguio-La Trinidad sometime 26-27th of April 1945.
He related that while the main liberation force came up via Sablan-Irisan. (for us kids to differentiate the forces he called them “the group of your uncle Ping (Paraan) and… ”), he and 2 or 3 US soldiers came up to Baguio from the east, via San Manuel-Ansagan. When they were somewhere in Mt. Santo Tomas “waiting for the guns (cannons) in Camp Allen to get shot down”, he told his companions he wanted to go home (to Balakbak) and gave them directions to proceed safely into the City.
Both he and his father were officers in the USAFFE and “carpenters, builders, guides, interpreters, procurers and foot soldiers,” he described. The ordeal people went through and their stories of that period in Baguio, Northern Luzon until Southern Luzon (and back) would fill a thousand pages. Those that I fortunately listened to reflected a burning fervor for the defense of a Filipino nation and their deep love and value for their people, their culture, their community, and a disturbing mixture of anger and hatred for ‘collaborators’ (traitors).
Push for Politics of Change
Today, those Filipino warriors who on April 9 we commemorate for their valor and sacrifice in defense of the only nation we inherited, and as their descendants shall in turn pass on to our children; (we) now find ourselves a part of a beleaguered Philippine nation that is being “sold” to imperialist interests like China without our full knowledge. Such sacrilege, such betrayal, with impunity against the sovereign nation of Filipino people!
Unite! As Filipinos do in the face of threat, defend our way of life, the culture of sharing, caring and nurturing our communities. Given this opportunity in this tradpol electoral arena; let us render a united vote to defend the Country, defend our land, life and resources so that the greater majority shall live, progress in peace, (and not for plunderers or tyrants). Choose to support a nationalist senate now, vote for senator: #22Neri Colemenares, #36 Samira Gutuc, #59 Erin Tañada, #25 Chel Diokno, #9 Bam Aquino, #37 Pilo Hilbay, #23 Leody deGuzman, #47 Sonny Matula; #15 Nancy Binay, #52 Serge Osmena, #55 Grace Poe. And,
For more transparency and people focused public-service in Baguio City, (I) chose people of integrity and honor, nationalists, tested peoples’ leaders, and human rights defenders. Let us vote for: #1 Nick Aliping for Congressman, #6 Jose Mencio Molintas for Mayor, #1 Rene Cortes for vice Mayor; For Councilors: #4 Arthur Allad-iw, #16 Popo Cosalan, #52 Mylen Yaranon, #12 Richard Carino, # Ron Perez, #29 Vic Jimenez, #Butch Macarenas.
For your party-list: Vote for #83 Act Teachers party-list.
Raise up your voice against politicians who pretend to respect indigenous peoples’ rights, who are disguised ‘realstate brokers’ legislating to privatize and sell: public land, public utilities and taking-over ancestral lands for their private gain; politicians who have a background of union busting and promoting contractualization in the city.
Go out and cast your vote on May 13, Monday, 2019. Vote for change, vote for democracy, vote for Press Freedom.# nordis.net