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Baguio victory day rites set Sunday (Sept. 3)

BAGUIO CITY – Baguio City will mark on Sunday (Sept. 3) the celebration of Victory Day or the signing of the instrument of surrender by General Tomoyuki Yamashita at Camp John Hay with a simple memorial program set 8 a.m. at the Veterans Park along Harrison Road.

The program will start with the flag-raising rites followed by wreath-laying ceremony in honor of the soldiers who died in the war.

World War II veterans will be recognized during the program with the messages to be delivered by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and a representative from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.

Domogan who has pushed for the observance for years reiterated that it is but proper for the city if not the entire country to give importance to the date.

"April 9, Araw ng Kagitingan, Day of Defeat is being celebrated yearly so the more we should also be celebrating our Day of Victory, Sept. 3, 1945 which is the formal surrender of Gen. (Yamashita) here in our city," he said.

He also said that the war technically also started in Baguio with the carpet bombing of Camp John Hay gate on Dec. 8, 1941. "So practically, the war in the Philippines started and ended here in Baguio City."

Records said that as of April this year, there are few surviving veterans in the city including Raymundo Gadgad, Jose Tiangao, Garcia Wakit, Marciano Miles, Esteban Esco, Tino Aticao, Eduardo Peralta and Albert Bugtong.

The celebration is in line with the city council resolution approved last year institutionalizing the observance of Victory Day in the city as recommended by the council committee on tourism, special events, parks and playgrounds chaired by Councilor Elmer Datuin to give more meaning and significance to the event.

This was as per request of the United States Army Forces in the Philippines-North Luzon Inc. Baguio-Benguet chapter (USAFIP-NL-BBC) who stressed the importance of the date in the city, if not the entire country's history.

The veterans said that every municipality of Benguet and Cordilleras is now celebrating its local town's day of freedom or liberation day – "the Victory Day wherein Yamashita surrendered himself physically on Sept. 2, 1945 which is celebrated annually in Kiangan, Ifugao" – thus the city should follow suit.

"The Filipino guerillas of Baguio and Benguet fought alongside with the American forces during the liberation campaign under 66th Infantry Regiment, USAFIP-NL as duly organized guerilla unit;" the veterans recalled. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

 
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