Remembering, WW II Liberation of Baguio.

Remembering, WW II Liberation of Baguio.

The City commemorates the 77th Liberation Day for the veterans and our heroes, wreath-laying and inspirational messages from the city officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Congressman Marquez Go, the guest of honor and speaker Undersecretary and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina held at Veterans Park on April 27, 2022.

Sa mensahe ni Carolina, “Baguio has always been an adored place by a many Filipino that was a summer capital and apart from being a favor a vacation place,  also has a distinct historical significance,”

“Before the war, Baguio already had military significant which through Japanese attack at this start of the second world war, Baguio was held to Camp John Hay, of course, the Philippine Military Academy then the Teacher’s Camp is also in Baguio and so with Camp Allen and the headquarters of the First Military District their soldiers were trained to mobilize and well became a part of 11th Division of the great important role in the country United States Army Forces in the Philippines Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL) and know to may of us they have the headquarters of Camp Allen,”  

“But what is significant about this historical account is not only the strategic and political events that happen in Baguio during the second world war, the liberation of Baguio City fade away to subsequent victories were the Japanese when decisively dictated, the battle vessel pass in June and finally the battle in Gayangan when Ifugao province on September 2, where General Yamashita was captured by Filipino guerillas Igorot of 66th regiment of the USAFIP-NL in Gayangan,”

“Too many Filipinos, especially the young, World War II in the Philippines are images of Bataan, Corregidor, the dead mark and the MacArthur very much less, kakaunti ang alam ng mga anak natin, about the real role of the Filipino freedom fighters in the liberation of our country,”

“More books about the episode of our history our liberation “dito nag ugat sa Baguio at ang nakipaglaban karamihan ay yun galing sa Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao ang tawag nila ay mga G-string guerillas pero hindi sila ang bida sa mga history book, and the Filipino freedom fighters and two books authored by Ret. Col. Cesar Pobre, the hero of two books are Victory in Northern Luzon and History of the Armed Forces of the Filipino People, there are many untold stories that are still to be written,  marami pa hindi naisusulat at hindi naituturo sa ating mga eskwelahan,”

Pinasalamatan ni Carolina si Congressman Go sa kanyang pagka optimistic nito na kung saan sa next congress ay umaasang mai-refile ang bill at suportahan ito para maituro at malaman ng mga kabataan ang talagang naging papel ng ating kababayan dito sa Baguio at Igorot warriors sa pagpapalaya sa liberation ng bansang Pilipinas.

Nabanggit naman ni Mayor Magalong noong panahon ng pagkakaroon ng kaganapan na tunggalian ng Irisan, ay inihalintulad ang ating kasalukuyang kalagayan sa pakikipagdigma sa magulong panahon, ngunit nagtagumpay sa mga pagsubok sa mga kahirapan, patungo sa isang komportableng kapayapaan.

Isang makasaysayang mensahe ang ipinahayag ni Cong Go,”Today, we celebrate the 77th Liberation of Baguio City. An important event that gave inspiration to our freedom fighters and finally led to our country’s victory and formal the surrender of the Japanese Imperial Army here in Baguio City.

I contemplate whether this day is a celebration or a commemoration. There is a difference because we are not supposed to be rejoicing over deaths and losses, but remembering and paying homage. On the other hand, we celebrate triumphs and victories.

“We are celebrating the bravery and the valor that our veterans exhibited not only during World War II but also after when they called to duty to defend our freedom and independence. We celebrate the resilience and courage they summoned to endure against overwhelming odds.

We are also commemorating the sacrifice made by the fallen soldiers who fought so that we can live with liberty, free from tyranny and oppression.

We will never forget. We often ignore the cost of freedom that our war veterans carry in silence. It is very easy to lose sight of the blood, sweat and tears our war heroes so willingly shed to provide us with an independent and free country.

“I am humbled to see the veterans here today. To all of you I say, you do not bear the burden alone, we are here with you. Just as you fought for us, we will fight for you in the newly found leadership challenge”

“We do not need to look any further to find heroes. They are in our midst. The veterans are worthy of emulation; they are prime examples for today’s youth.

Indeed, there is a force greater than life. Our for our native land is a force bigger than our lives. Our freedom, our dignity, and our pride are a force greater than our lives.

Because that’s the only way SACRIFICE makes sense. It’s the only way we can understand that to fight and to die for something greater than ourselves actually means living our lives to their fullness.

“Our soldiers loved our country so much that they offered their service.

“Perhaps it makes sense to remind ourselves that history has had its favors on us here in Baguio. The Second World War marked its end in the city of Baguio. On September 3, 1945, General Tomoyuki Yamashita, then the commander of the Japanese forces occupying the Philippines, signed the formal surrender documents to US Lt. General Jonathan Wainwright and British Lt. Gen. Arthur Percival at the American high commissioner’s residence in Camp John Hay, formally ending the war.

“World War II began in Baguio City, and by a stroke of fate, it also ended here. The Liberation of Baguio on April 27, 1945 was the prelude to this victory. What an honor to stand on its hallowed grounds! The fall of Bataan, which we celebrated early this month, was not a defeat. Three years after that we had our vindication here. That day will remain an immortal day of bravery! And it is passed on to us at this very hour.

We celebrate and commemorate this day because we want to be like our veterans, our heroes.

It has been said “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it… it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it,”  pagtatapos ni Go.

Dinaluhan rin nina National Executive Secretary of the Philippine Veterans Bank Miguel Angelo Villarreal, ilang konsehal ng lungsod, PVB Baguio branch representative Jacqueline Eman, Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Director Glenn Lonogan at mga tauhan, mga beterano ng dayuhang digmaan, mga reservist, kinatawan ng USAFIP-NL, offspring of Veterans Association Inc.  Photos by: Mario D. Oclaman /FNS

Mario Oclaman